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Analysing causation

Morgan, Jennifer Margaret (2017)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This thesis will survey several prominent approaches to analysing causation, discuss their differences and similarities, and look at a number of problems which are common to all of them. I will be arguing for the following claims about how we should approach the process of analysing causation. Firstly, I will be arguing that a reductive analysis is desirable, since if we can reductively analyse causation in terms of something empirically accessible, we can explain how it is possible to know anything about causation. I will argue that to reductively analyse causation is to find out what kind of facts ground causal facts. Secondly, I will argue, following Hall and Strevens, that there are two kinds of causation, causal difference making and causal influence. This two-tiered approach explains the cases where we are tempted to ascribe conflicting characteristics to our concept of causation. Thirdly, I will argue that causal influence grounds causal difference making and that it does so necessarily. That the grounding relation holds necessarily is important for defending the two-tiered approach against the objection that it would yield a disjunctive account.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Effingham, Nikk and Wilson, Alastair
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Philosophy
Subjects:B Philosophy (General)
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:7205
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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