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Causation

Causation

Douglas Kutach

ISBN: 978-0-745-68584-7 August 2014 Polity 184 Pages

 E-Book

$18.99

Description

In most academic and non-academic circles throughout history, the world and its operation have been viewed in terms of cause and effect. The principles of causation have been applied, fruitfully, across the sciences, law, medicine, and in everyday life, despite the lack of any agreed-upon framework for understanding what causation ultimately amounts to.

In this engaging and accessible introduction to the topic, Douglas Kutach explains and analyses the most prominent theories and examples in the philosophy of causation. The book is organized so as to respect the various cross-cutting and interdisciplinary concerns about causation, such as the reducibility of causation, its application to scientific modeling, its connection to influence and laws of nature, and its role in causal explanation. Kutach begins by presenting the four recurring distinctions in the literature on causation, proceeding through an exploration of various accounts of causation including determination, difference making and probability-raising. He concludes by carefully considering their application to the mind-body problem.

Causation provides a straightforward and compact survey of contemporary approaches to causation and serves as a friendly and clear guide for anyone interested in exploring the complex jungle of ideas that surround this fundamental philosophical topic.
1 Introduction: All Things Causal 1

2 Causal Oomph 19

3 Process and Mechanism 41

4 Difference-Making 62

5 Determination 84

6 Probability-Raising 98

7 Manipulation and Intervention 122

8 Mental Causation 141

Notes 160

Bibliography 163

Index 170

"A terrific introduction to the topic of causation in philosophy and cognate fields. His writing is clear and engaging without sacrificing rigor or conceptual sophistication. In this short book he surveys all of the major approaches to the topic. But more importantly, he shows the reader what it is like to explore the nuances of a complex subject with the benefit of a keen philosophical mind."
Chris Hitchcock, California Institute of Technology

"An engaging and long-overdue introduction to causation: what philosophers have said about it, why they've had trouble agreeing with each other, and why it matters, for all of us."
Carolina Sartorio, University of Arizona