Analysing causation

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

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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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Philosophy
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)


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