Getting Causes from Powers
Causation is everywhere in the world: it features in every science and technology. But how much do we truly understand it? Do we know what it means to say that one thing is a cause of another and do we understand what in the world drives causation? Getting Causes from Powers develops a new and original theory of causation based on an ontology of real powers or dispositions. Others have already suggested that this ought to be possible, but no one has yet performed the detailed work. Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum argue here that the completed theory will not look exactly as anyone has yet anticipated, and that a thoroughly dispositional theory of causation has some surprising features, for instance with respect to modality. The book is not restricted to the metaphysics of causation, but treats a variety of topics such as explanation, perception, modelling, the logic of causal claims, transitivity, and nonlinearity, and the empirical credentials of the theory are tested with reference to biology.
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1 Passing Powers Around
2 Modelling Causes as Vectors
3 Against Necessity
4 Reductionism Holism and Emergence
6 Explanation Absences and Counterfactuals
7 The Logic of Causation
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analysis argued argument ball billiard balls biology causal claims causal connection causal dispositionalism causal factors causal necessitarianism causal powers causal process causal production causal relation causal situation causal truths causation by absence cause and effect ceteris paribus chain chapter complex component powers composition conditional constant conjunction context counterfactual dependence dependence theory disposed dispositional modality dispositional theory dispositionalist emergentism entail equilibrium example explanandum figure fire gene happen Hume Hume’s Humean idea induction instance intentionality interference kind match metaphysics Mumford mutual manifestation nature necessitate necessity neuron diagrams nevertheless non-causal non-linear normativity notion of cause object offered one’s ontology outcome particular phenomena philosophical physics pleiotropy possible prediction prevented probabilistic probabilistic causation problem problem of induction produce properties proprioception quality space reason reductionism seems sense shows simultaneous sugar supervenience temporal priority theory of causation things threshold tion trait truthmakers understood vector model