Causation is a central topic in many areas of philosophy. In metaphysics, philosophers want to know what causation is, and how it is related to laws of nature, probability, action, and freedom of the will. In epistemology, philosophers investigate how causal claims can be inferred from statistical data, and how causation is related to perception, knowledge and explanation. In the philosophy of mind, philosophers want to know whether and how the mind can be said to have causal efficacy, and in ethics, whether there is a moral distinction between acts and omissions and whether the moral value of an act can be judged according to its consequences. And causation is a contested concept in other fields of enquiry, such as biology, physics, and the law. This book provides an in-depth and comprehensive overview of these and other topics, as well as the history of the causation debate from the ancient Greeks to the logical empiricists. The chapters provide surveys of contemporary debates, while often also advancing novel and controversial claims; and each includes a comprehensive bibliography and suggestions for further reading.
The book is thus the most comprehensive source of information about causation currently available, and will be invaluable for upper-level undergraduates through to professional philosophers.
Helen Beebee is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham Christopher Hitchcock is Professor of Philosophy at the California Institute of Technology Peter Menzies is Professor of Philosophy at Macquarie University, Sydney
Introduction ; 1. The Ancient Greeks ; 2. The Medievals ; 3. The Early Moderns ; 4. Hume ; 5. Kant ; 6. The Logical Empiricists ; 7. Regularity Theories ; 8. Counterfactual Theories ; 9. Probabilistic Theories ; 10. Causal Process Theories ; 11. Agency and Interventionist Theories ; 12. Causal Powers and Capacities ; 13. Anti-Reductionism ; 14. Causal Modelling ; 15. Mechanisms ; 16. Causal Pluralism ; 17. Platitudes and Counterexamples ; 18. Causes, Laws and Ontology ; 19. Causal Relata ; 20. The Time-Asymmetry of Causation ; 21. The Psychology of Causal Perception and Reasoning ; 22. Causation and Observation ; 23. Causation and Statistical Inference ; 24. Mental Causation ; 25. Causation, Action, and Free Will ; 26. Causation and Ethics ; 27. Causal Theories of Knowledge and Perception ; 28. Causation and Semantic Content ; 29. Causation and Explanation ; 30. Causation and Reduction ; 31. Causation in Classical Mechanics ; 32. Causation in Statistical Mechanics ; 33. Causation in Quantum Mechanics ; 34. Causation in Spacetime Theories ; 35. Causation in Biology ; 36. Causation in the Social Sciences ; 37. Causation in the Law