Causality and Modern Science (Google eBook)

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Transaction Publishers, Dec 31, 2011 - Philosophy - 424 pages
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The causal problem has become topical once again. While we are no longer causalists or believers in the universal truth of the causal principle we continue to think of causes and effects, as well as of causal and noncausal relations among them. Instead of becoming indeterminists we have enlarged determinism to include noncausal categories. And we are still in the process of characterizing our basic concepts and principles concerning causes and effects with the help of exact tools. This is because we want to explain, not just describe, the ways of things. The causal principle is not the only means of understanding the world but it is one of them.

The demand for a fourth edition of this distinguished book on the subject of causality is clear evidence that this principle continues to be an important and popular area of philosophic enquiry. Non-technical and clearly written, this book focuses on the ontological problem of causality, with specific emphasis on the place of the causal principle in modern science. Mario Bunge first defines the terminology employed and describes various formulations of the causal principle. He then examines the two primary critiques of causality, the empiricist and the romantic, as a prelude to the detailed explanation of the actual assertions of causal determinism.

Bunge analyzes the function of the causal principle in science, touching on such subjects as scientific law, scientific explanation, and scientific prediction. In so doing, he offers an education to layman and specialist alike on the history of a concept and its opponents. Professor William A. Wallace, author of Causality and Scientific Explanation said of an earlier edition of this work: "I regard it as a truly seminal work in this field."

  

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Contents

What Causal Determinism Does Not Assert
55
What Causal Determinism Does Assert
117
The Function of the Causal Principle in Science
221
Postscript
354
Appendix
377
Bibliography
391
Index
402
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About the author (2011)

Mario Bunge is professor in the philosophy department at McGill University in Montreal and holds sixteen honorary doctorates and four honorary professorships. His works include Treatise on Basic Philosophy in eight volumes, Philosophy of Psychology, Scientific Materialism, Social Science under Debate, and Philosophy of Science (revised edition, Transaction).

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