Causation and Laws

Edited by Markus Schrenk (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
Assistant editor: Florian J. Boge (Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Aachen University of Technology)
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  1. added 2018-08-06
    The Certainty, Modality, and Grounding of Newton’s Laws.Zvi Biener & Eric Schliesser - 2017 - The Monist 100 (3):311-325.
    Newton began his Principia with three Axiomata sive Leges Motus. We offer an interpretation of Newton’s dual label and investigate two tensions inherent in his account of laws. The first arises from the juxtaposition of Newton’s confidence in the certainty of his laws and his commitment to their variability and contingency. The second arises because Newton ascribes fundamental status both to the laws and to the bodies and forces they govern. We argue the first is resolvable, but the second is (...)
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  2. added 2017-09-19
    Singular Causal Statements and Strict Deterministic Laws.Noa Latham - 1987 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 68 (1):29-43.
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  3. added 2017-02-28
    Mechanisms, Counterfactuals and Laws.Stavros Ioannidis & Stathis Psillos - 2016 - In Stuart Glennan & Phyllis Illari (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy. Routledge.
    In this chapter we examine the relation between mechanisms and laws/counterfactuals by revisiting the main notions of mechanism found in the literature. We distinguish between two different conceptions of ‘mechanism’: mechanisms-of underlie or constitute a causal process; mechanisms-for are complex systems that function so as to produce a certain behavior. According to some mechanists, a mechanism fulfills both of these roles simultaneously. The main argument of the chapter is that there is an asymmetrical dependence between both kinds of mechanisms and (...)
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  4. added 2017-01-23
    A Priori Causal Laws.Darren Bradley - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (4):358-370.
    Sober and Elgin defend the claim that there are a priori causal laws in biology. Lange and Rosenberg take issue with this on Humean grounds, among others. I will argue that Sober and Elgin don’t go far enough – there are a priori causal laws in many sciences. Furthermore, I will argue that this thesis is compatible with a Humean metaphysics and an empiricist epistemology.
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  5. added 2016-12-13
    Mechanisms, Laws, and Regularities.Holly Andersen - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (2):325-331.
    Leuridan (2010) argued that mechanisms cannot provide a genuine alternative to laws of nature as a model of explanation in the sciences, and advocates Mitchell’s (1997) pragmatic account of laws. I first demonstrate that Leuridan gets the order of priority wrong between mechanisms, regularity, and laws, and then make some clarifying remarks about how laws and mechanisms relate to regularities. Mechanisms are not an explanatory alternative to regularities; they are an alternative to laws. The existence of stable regularities in nature (...)
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  6. added 2016-02-08
    Causation, Physics, and Fit.Christian Loew - 2017 - Synthese 194 (6):1945–1965.
    Our ordinary causal concept seems to fit poorly with how our best physics describes the world. We think of causation as a time-asymmetric dependence relation between relatively local events. Yet fundamental physics describes the world in terms of dynamical laws that are, possible small exceptions aside, time symmetric and that relate global time slices. My goal in this paper is to show why we are successful at using local, time-asymmetric models in causal explanations despite this apparent mismatch with fundamental physics. (...)
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  7. added 2016-01-13
    Frank Plumpton Ramsey.Brad Armendt - 2005 - In Sahotra Sarkar & Jessica Pfeifer (eds.), The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. pp. 671-681.
    On the work of Frank Ramsey, emphasizing topics most relevant to philosophy of science.
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  8. added 2015-08-26
    Kausalität zwischen Physik und deskriptiver Metaphysik.Geert Keil - 2004 - Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Philosophie 29 (3):287-294.
    The short paper continues a debate on free will, causation and laws of nature between the author and the German philosopher Peter Rohs (opened in a previous issue of the same journal). Both Keil and Rohs are libertarians, but they disagree on a number of metaphysical issues. Keil maintains that causation is a relation between changes, i.e. time-consuming events, not between instantaneous states. Against Davidson’s “principle of the nomological character of causality”, Keil holds that no exceptionless laws subsuming cause-effect pairs (...)
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  9. added 2015-08-26
    Kausalitat und Freiheit -- Antwort auf Peter Rohs.Geert Keil - 2003 - Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Philosophie 28 (3):261-272.
    The short paper is a reply to a review of the author’s book HANDELN UND VERURSACHEN (Frankfurt am Main 2000). The reviewer, Peter Rohs, has focused upon the issues of causation, laws of nature and free will. Both Rohs and the author are libertarians, but they disagree on a number of metaphysical issues. The author maintains that causation is a relation between changes, i. e. time-consuming events, not between instantaneous states. Against Davidson’s “principle of the nomological character of causality”, he (...)
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  10. added 2014-03-05
    Causal Necessity and the Future: Two Views.Steven M. Duncan - manuscript
    In this paper I offer an alternative to the standard, mechanistic/fatalistic account of causal necessity, one compatible with the existence of laws of nature but not deterministic in the way this is usually understood.
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  11. added 2014-03-04
    Backtracking Influence.Douglas Kutach - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (1):55-71.
    Backtracking influence is influence that zigzags in time. For example, backtracking influence exists when an event E_1 makes an event E_2 more likely by way of a nomic connection that goes from E_1 back in time to an event C and then forward in time to E_2. I contend that in our local region of spacetime, at least, backtracking influence is redundant in the sense that any existing backtracking influence exerted by E_1 on E_2 is equivalent to E_1's temporally direct (...)
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  12. added 2013-10-01
    Ontic Structural Realism and Modality.Nora Berenstain & James Ladyman - 2012 - In Elaine Landry & Dean Rickles (eds.), Structural Realism: Structure, Object, and Causality. Springer.
    There is good reason to believe that scientific realism requires a commitment to the objective modal structure of the physical world. Causality, equilibrium, laws of nature, and probability all feature prominently in scientific theory and explanation, and each one is a modal notion. If we are committed to the content of our best scientific theories, we must accept the modal nature of the physical world. But what does the scientific realist’s commitment to physical modality require? We consider whether scientific realism (...)
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  13. added 2013-06-22
    Kausalität, Determinismus und Physik Schlicks frühe Überlegungen zum Kausalbegriff im Lichte der zeitgenössischen Diskussion.Andreas Hüttemann - 2013 - Schlickiana 6:323-336.
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  14. added 2013-02-20
    A Critique of Humean and Anti-Humean Metaphysics of Cause and Law - Final Version.Benjamin Smart - manuscript
    Metaphysicians play an important role in our understanding of the universe. In recent years, physicists have focussed on finding accurate mathematical formalisms of the evolution of our physical system - if a metaphysician can uncover the metaphysical underpinnings of these formalisms; that is, why these formalisms seem to consistently map the universe, then our understanding of the world and the things in it is greatly enhanced. Science, then, plays a very important role in our project, as the best scientific formalisms (...)
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  15. added 2013-02-19
    A Relic of a Bygone Age? Causation, Time Symmetry and the Directionality Argument.Matt Farr & Alexander Reutlinger - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):215-235.
    Bertrand Russell famously argued that causation is not part of the fundamental physical description of the world, describing the notion of cause as “a relic of a bygone age”. This paper assesses one of Russell’s arguments for this conclusion: the ‘Directionality Argument’, which holds that the time symmetry of fundamental physics is inconsistent with the time asymmetry of causation. We claim that the coherence and success of the Directionality Argument crucially depends on the proper interpretation of the ‘ time symmetry’ (...)
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  16. added 2013-01-18
    Tooley's Account of the Necessary Connection Between Law and Regularity.Tyler Hildebrand - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (1):33-43.
    Fred Dretske, Michael Tooley, and David Armstrong accept a theory of governing laws of nature according to which laws are atomic states of affairs that necessitate corresponding natural regularities. Some philosophers object to the Dretske/Tooley/Armstrong theory on the grounds that there is no illuminating account of the necessary connection between governing law and natural regularity. In response, Michael Tooley has provided a reductive account of this necessary connection in his book Causation (1987). In this essay, I discuss an improved version (...)
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  17. added 2011-12-16
    Causation and Its Basis in Fundamental Physics.Douglas Kutach - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    I provide a comprehensive metaphysics of causation based on the idea that fundamentally things are governed by the laws of physics, and that derivatively difference-making can be assessed in terms of what fundamental laws of physics imply for hypothesized events. Highlights include a general philosophical methodology, the fundamental/derivative distinction, and my mature account of causal asymmetry.
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  18. added 2011-12-16
    The Asymmetry of Influence.Douglas Kutach - 2011 - In Craig Callender (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time. Oxford University Press.
    An explanation of our seeming inability to influence the past.
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  19. added 2011-10-12
    Review of Donald Davidson's Truth, Language, and History. [REVIEW]John R. Cook - 2006 - Philosophy in Review (6):399-401.
    Language, Truth, and History is an excellent volume of essays coming from one of the most important philosophers in the last fifty years. It would be of interest to anyone interested in the ways Davidson's philosophy evolved after the publication of the first two volumes, and it is essential reading for anyone working in philosophy of language or philosophy of mind.
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  20. added 2011-01-13
    Initial Conditions as Exogenous Factors in Spatial Explanation.Clint Ballinger - 2008 - Dissertation, University of Cambridge
    This dissertation shows how initial conditions play a special role in the explanation of contingent and irregular outcomes, including, in the form of geographic context, the special case of uneven development in the social sciences. The dissertation develops a general theory of this role, recognizes its empirical limitations in the social sciences, and considers how it might be applied to the question of uneven development. The primary purpose of the dissertation is to identify and correct theoretical problems in the study (...)
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  21. added 2011-01-13
    Classifying Contingency in the Social Sciences: Diachronic, Synchronic, and Deterministic Contingency.Clint Ballinger - unknown
    This article makes three claims concerning the concept of contingency. First, we argue that the word contingency is used in far too many ways to be useful. Its many meanings are detrimental to clarity of discussion and thought in history and the social sciences. We show how there are eight distinct uses of the word and illustrate this with numerous examples from the social sciences and history, highlighting the scope for confusion caused by the many, often contradictory uses of the (...)
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