Metaphysically Reductive Causation

Erkenntnis 78 (1):9-41 (2013)
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There are, by now, many rival, sophisticated philosophical accounts of causation that qualify as ‘metaphysically reductive’. This is a good thing: these collective efforts have vastly improved our understanding of causation over the last 30 years or so. They also put us in an excellent position to reflect on some central methodological questions: What exactly is the point of offering a metaphysical reduction of causation? What philosophical scruples ought to guide the pursuit of such a reduction? Finally, how should answers to these latter questions affect one’s assessment of the main contemporary approaches? That’s what we investigate in this essay. Section 1 lays out our presuppositions. Section 2 reviews a sample of philosophical accounts. Then comes the main event: Section 3 looks in detail at the foregoing methodological questions, closing with a reconsideration of our sample accounts, in light of what we’ve found.



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Ned Hall
Harvard University

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On the causal arguments for physicalism.Wenjun Zhang - 2024 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 3 (1):1-11.
Counterfactuals and counterparts: defending a neo-Humean theory of causation.Neil McDonnell - 2015 - Dissertation, Macquarie University and University of Glasgow

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References found in this work

Does conceivability entail possibility.David J. Chalmers - 2002 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200.
The metaphysics within physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Philosophical papers.David Kellogg Lewis - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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