Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Monist: January 2009, Vol. 92, No. 1

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Monist: January 2009, Vol. 92, No. 1

Article excerpt

Introduction: The Nature of Singularist Theories of Causation, MICHAEL MOORE

Absences, Possible Causation, and the Problem of Non-Locality, PHIL DOWE

This article argues that so-called "absence causation" must be treated in terms of counterfactuals about causation such as "had A occurred, A would have caused B." First, it argues that some theories of causation that accept absence causation are unattractive because they undermine the idea of possible causation. Second, it argues that accepting absence causation violates a principle commonly associated with relativity.

Abstracting Away from Preemption, DOUGLAS EHRING

This paper criticizes a general strategy for making standard reductionist theories of causation compatible with preemption and overdetermination. This strategy maintains that causation is reducible to some noncausal relation R between events that does not involve a physical connection, but only when those events are screened off from the distorting circumstance of accompanying preempted causes or other overdetermining causes. Abstracting away from such circumstances, the preempting/overdetermining cause is R-related to its effect (Or, in another version, intrinsic analogues of the cause/effect pair, connected by an intrinsically indistinguisble process, are R-related). This paper shows that that strategy--the "abstracting away" strategy---does not provide an adequate basis for dealing with preemption and overdetermination. The author concludes that we are better off focusing on physical connection theory.

Problems for the Conserved Quantity Theory: Counterexamples, Circularity, and Redundancy, CHRISTOPHER HITCHCOCK

The conserved quantity theory of causation alms to analyze causal processes and interactions in terms of conserved quantities. In order to be successful, the theory must correctly distinguish between causal processes and interactions, on the one hand, and pseudoprocesses and mere intersections on the other. Moreover, it must do this while satisfying two further criteria: it must avoid circularity and the appeal to conserved quantities must not be redundant. …

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