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  1. Necessary and Sufficient Conditions Are Converse Relations.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    According to the so-called ‘standard theory’ of conditions, the conditionship relation is converse, that is, if A is a sufficient condition for B, B is a necessary condition for A. This theory faces well-known counterexamples that appeal to both causal and other asymmetric considerations. I show that these counterexamples lose their plausibility once we clarify two key components of the standard theory: that to satisfy a condition is to instantiate a property, and that what is usually called ‘conditionship relation’ is (...)
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  2. Running Up the Flagpole to See If Anyone Salutes: A Response to Woodward on Causal and Explanatory Asymmetries.Katrina Elliott & Marc Lange - forthcoming - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science.
    Does smoke cause fire or does fire cause smoke? James Woodward’s “Flagpoles anyone? Causal and explanatory asymmetries” argues that various statistical independence relations not only help us to uncover the directions of causal and explanatory relations in our world, but also are the worldly basis of causal and explanatory directions. We raise questions about Woodward’s envisioned epistemology, but our primary focus is on his metaphysics. We argue that any alleged connection between statistical (in)dependence and causal/explanatory direction is contingent, at best. (...)
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  3. Against the Standard Solution to the Grandfather Paradox.Yael Loewenstein - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2).
    1000 time-travelers travel back in time, each with the intention of killing their own infant-self. If there is no branching time, then on pain of bringing about a logical contradiction, all must fail. But this seems inexplicable: what is to ensure that the time-travelers are stopped? For a time, this inexplicability objection was thought to provide evidence that there is something incoherent about the possibility of backwards time travel in a universe without branching time. There is now near-consensus, however, that (...)
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  4. The Directionality of Topological Explanations.Daniel Kostić & Kareem Khalifa - 2021 - Synthese (5-6):14143-14165.
    Proponents of ontic conceptions of explanation require all explanations to be backed by causal, constitutive, or similar relations. Among their justifications is that only ontic conceptions can do justice to the ‘directionality’ of explanation, i.e., the requirement that if X explains Y , then not-Y does not explain not-X . Using topological explanations as an illustration, we argue that non-ontic conceptions of explanation have ample resources for securing the directionality of explanations. The different ways in which neuroscientists rely on multiplexes (...)
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  5. How Anti-Humeans Can Embrace a Thermodynamic Reduction of Time’s Causal Arrow.Eli I. Lichtenstein - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (5):1161-1171.
    Some argue that time’s causal arrow is grounded in an underlying thermodynamic asymmetry. Often, this is tied to Humean skepticism that causes produce their effects, in any robust sense of ‘produce’. Conversely, those who advocate stronger notions of natural necessity often reject thermodynamic reductions of time’s causal arrow. Against these traditional pairings, I argue that ‘reduction-plus-production’ is coherent. Reductionists looking to invoke robust production can insist that there are metaphysical constraints on the signs of objects’ velocities in any state, given (...)
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  6. Causation and Time Reversal.Matt Farr - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):177-204.
    What would it be for a process to happen backwards in time? Would such a process involve different causal relations? It is common to understand the time-reversal invariance of a physical theory in causal terms, such that whatever can happen forwards in time can also happen backwards in time. This has led many to hold that time-reversal symmetry is incompatible with the asymmetry of cause and effect. This article critiques the causal reading of time reversal. First, I argue that the (...)
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  7. A Psychological Approach to Causal Understanding and the Temporal Asymmetry.Elena Popa - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (4):977-994.
    This article provides a conceptual account of causal understanding by connecting current psychological research on time and causality with philosophical debates on the causal asymmetry. I argue that causal relations are viewed as asymmetric because they are understood in temporal terms. I investigate evidence from causal learning and reasoning in both children and adults: causal perception, the temporal priority principle, and the use of temporal cues for causal inference. While this account does not suffice for correct inferences of causal structure, (...)
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  8. Meaning, Autonomy, Symbolic Causality, and Free Will.Russ Abbott - 2018 - Review of General Psychology 22 (1):85-94.
    As physical entities that translate symbols into physical actions, computers offer insights into the nature of meaning and agency. • Physical symbol systems, generically known as agents, link abstractions to material actions. The meaning of a symbol is defined as the physical actions an agent takes when the symbol is encountered. • An agent has autonomy when it has the power to select actions based on internal decision processes. Autonomy offers a partial escape from constraints imposed by direct physical influences (...)
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  9. 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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  10. Introduction to Special Issue on 'Actual Causation'.Michael Baumgartner & Luke Glynn - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (1):1-8.
    An actual cause of some token effect is itself a token event that helped to bring about that effect. The notion of an actual cause is different from that of a potential cause – for example a pre-empted backup – which had the capacity to bring about the effect, but which wasn't in fact operative on the occasion in question. Sometimes actual causes are also distinguished from mere background conditions: as when we judge that the struck match was a cause (...)
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  11. 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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  12. Can Interventionists Be Neo-Russellians? Interventionism, the Open Systems Argument, and the Arrow of Entropy.Alexander Reutlinger - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (3):273-293.
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Volume 27, Issue 3, Page 273-293, September 2013.
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  13. The Metaphysics of Forces.Olivier Massin - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (4):555-589.
    This paper defends the view that Newtonian forces are real, symmetrical and non-causal relations. First, I argue that Newtonian forces are real; second, that they are relations; third, that they are symmetrical relations; fourth, that they are not species of causation. The overall picture is anti-Humean to the extent that it defends the existence of forces as external relations irreducible to spatio-temporal ones, but is still compatible with Humean approaches to causation (and others) since it denies that forces are a (...)
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  14. The Physical Foundations of Causation.Douglas Kutach - 2007 - In Huw Price & Richard Corry (eds.), Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell's Republic Revisited. Oxford University Press.
    I defend what may loosely be called an eliminativist account of causation by showing how several of the main features of causation, namely asymmetry, transitivity, and necessitation, arise from the combination of fundamental dynamical laws and a special constraint on the macroscopic structure of matter in the past. At the microscopic level, the causal features of necessitation and transitivity are grounded, but not the asymmetry. At the coarse-grained level of the macroscopic physics, the causal asymmetry is grounded, but not the (...)
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  15. Causation as Simultaneous and Continuous.Michael Huemer & Ben Kovitz - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (213):556–565.
    We propose that all actual causes are simultaneous with their direct effects, as illustrated by both everyday examples and the laws of physics. We contrast this view with the sequential conception of causation, according to which causes must occur prior to their effects. The key difference between the two views of causation lies in differing assumptions about the mathematical structure of time.
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  16. The Limits of Causal Order, From Economics to Physics.Nancy Cartwright - 2002 - In Uskali Mäki (ed.), Fact and Fiction in Economics: Models, Realism and Social Construction. Cambridge: pp. 137-151.
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  17. Review of Dowe, Physical Causation. [REVIEW]D. M. Hausman - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 33 (4):717-24.
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  18. Causal Production as Interaction.Rognvaldur Ingthorsson - 2002 - Metaphysica 3 (1):87-119.
    The paper contains a novel realist account of causal production and the necessary connection between cause and effect. I argue that the asymmetric relation between causally connected events must be regarded as a product of a symmetric interaction between two or more entities. All the entities involved contribute to the producing, and so count as parts of the cause, and they all suffer a change, and so count as parts of the effect. Cause and effect, on this account, are two (...)
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  19. Causation.Terrance A. Tomkow & Kadri Vihvelin - manuscript
    Causation is defined as a relation between facts: C causes E if and only if C and E are nomologically independent facts and C is a necessary part of a nomologically sufficient condition for E. The analysis is applied to problems of overdetermination, preemption, trumping, intransitivity, switching, and double prevention. Preventing and allowing are defined and distinguished from causing. The analysis explains the direction of causation in terms of the logical form of dynamic laws. Even in a universe that is (...)
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