Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Causality: causality is the relation between two (separate) entities, whereby a state change of the one entity causes the state of the other entity to change. Nowadays it is assumed that an energy transfer is crucial for talking about a causal link.
D. Hume was the first to consistently deny the observability of cause and effect. (David Hume Eine Untersuchung über den menschlichen Verstand, Hamburg, 1993, p. 95).


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Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

 
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I 264
Explanation/causality/Bigelow/Pargetter: Problem: because of impending circularity, we cannot explain causality by laws or counterfactual conditional or probability.
Counterfactual Conditional/Explanation/Bigelow/Pargetter: Conversely, counterfactual conditionals are analyzed in terms of causality. Just as necessary.
Causation/Bigelow/Pargetter: Must be an unanalyzed basic concept. It is a structural universal. Fundamental forces play a major role.
Forces/Bigelow/Pargetter: are vectors.
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I 265
Causality/causation/explanation/Bigelow/Pargetter: first we refute some common theories.
Causation/Tradition/Bigelow/Pargetter: is often regarded as a kind of "necessary connection". Normally, this is expressed in such a way that either the cause is necessary for the effect or the effect is a necessary consequence of the cause. Then the cause is either a necessary or a sufficient condition or both.
Weaker: some authors: it is only unlikely to find a cause without effect (or vice versa). (Probabilistic theories of causation, Lewis 1979, Tooley 1987).
"Necessity Theories"/Bigelow/Pargetter: should explain on what kind of necessity they rely on.
Cause/Effect/BigelowVsTradition/BigelowVsLewis/Bigelow/Pargetter: thesis that a cause does not have to be a sufficient or a necessary cause for an effect, the effect could have occurred without or by another cause, or without cause at all! One cannot always assume a high probability. A cause does not always have to increase the probability of an event.
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I 266
Hume/Bigelow/Pargetter: that's what we learned from him. (HumeVsLewis).
Causality/Hume/Bigelow/Pargetter: his conception of it has a theological background (from Descartes and Malebranche): Thesis: it could not be that God was bound by any restrictions.
Therefore, it could not be that God would be compelled to allow the effect to follow. It would always have to come out of God's free choice and be a miracle every time.
Hume/Bigelow/Pargetter. His theory simply eliminates God. Hume simply asks us to imagine that the effect could not follow from the cause.
Bigelow/Pargetter: he's right! It is not only logically possible, but also empirically possible.
Presentation/Hume/Bigelow/Pargetter: is for Hume the guide to the possibility. He thus swings from a theological to a psychological argument.
Cause/Bigelow/Pargetter: Causes are not sufficient conditions. They are not always necessary.
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I 267
Solution/Hume/Bigelow/Pargetter: inner expectations of regularities.
Cause/Hume/Bigelow/Pargetter: according to Hume "sufficient" cannot be considered modal. That is, that "sufficient" must not be considered realistic.
BigelowVsHume: went too far in his rejection of necessity in laws. But not far enough in his rejection of the necessity approach of causality.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.

Big I
J. Bigelow, R. Pargetter
Science and Necessity Cambridge 1990


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-10-17