Authors
David Spurrett
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Abstract
We discuss Russell's 1913 essay arguing for the irrelevance of the idea of causation to science and its elimination from metaphysics as a precursor to contemporary philosophical naturalism. We show how Russell's application raises issues now receiving much attention in debates about the adequacy of such naturalism, in particular, problems related to the relationship between folk and scientific conceptual influences on metaphysics, and to the unification of a scientifically inspired worldview. In showing how to recover an approximation to Russell's conclusion while explaining scientists' continuing appeal to causal ideas (without violating naturalism by philosophically correcting scientists) we illustrate a general naturalist strategy for handling problems around the unification of sciences that assume different levels of naïveté with respect to folk conceptual frameworks. We do this despite rejecting one of the premises of Russell's argument, a version of reductionism that was scientifically plausible in 1913 but is not so now.
Keywords Causation
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axl027
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References found in this work BETA

The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
Mind and World.Huw Price & John McDowell - 1994 - Philosophical Books 38 (3):169-181.
Real Patterns.Daniel C. Dennett - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):27-51.

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Citations of this work BETA

Physical Causation and Difference-Making.Alyssa Ney - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):737-764.
Satisfaction Conditions in Anticipatory Mechanisms.Marcin Miłkowski - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (5):709-728.
Physics and Causation.Thomas Blanchard - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (5):256-266.

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