Causation: Determination and difference-making

Noûs 44 (1):80-111 (2010)
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Abstract

Much of the modern philosophy of causation has been governed by two ideas: (i) causes make their effects inevitable; (ii) a cause is something that makes a difference to whether its effect occurs. I focus on explaining the origin of idea (ii) and its connection to (i). On my view, the frequent attempts to turn (ii) into an analysis of causation are wrongheaded. Patterns of difference-making aren't what makes causal claims true. They merely provide a useful test for causal claims. Moreover, what justifies us in using them as a test is idea (i). That's how (i) and (ii) are connected.

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Boris Kment
Princeton University

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