Collingwood and Manipulability-based Approaches to Causation: Methodological Issues

Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 22 (1):139-166 (2016)
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Abstract

This paper discusses methodological similarities between Collingwood's approach to causation and contemporary manipulability-based views. Firstly, I argue that on both approaches there is a preoccupation with the origin of causal concepts which further connects to the aim of establishing the priority of a certain concept/sense of causation as more fundamental. The significant difference lies in Collingwood's focus on the logical and historical priority (Collingwood's sense I) while in more recent theories the focus has been on psychology (i.e., on different philosophical concepts of causation tested in psychological setting-- Woodward, Waskan, Gijsbers & de Bruin). Secondly, I argue that on both Collingwood's views and contemporary approaches (especially Menzies & Price, Price, but also Woodward) there is an important connection between causation and the agent's perspective. This can be subsumed under what Collingwood identifies as the main presupposition underlying causal thought: the relation between the agent's perceived situation and the agent's desired situation/ goal. More broadly, the recent views on causation under discussion share Collingwood's aim of elucidating the problem of causation through investigating causal knowledge and thus can be integrated with his wider project of addressing metaphysical issues through the means of epistemology.

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Elena Popa
Jagiellonian University

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