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The metaphysics of causation : causation, conditionals and regularities.


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Forrest, Peter,1948- 1979 , 'The metaphysics of causation : causation, conditionals and regularities.', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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In this thesis I am concerned not with immanent causation,
but with transeunt causation.
In the Introduction I show how the Conditional Analysis and
the Regularity Account of causation can be used to defend Causal
Anti-realism and to supplement the Manipulability Account. I also
mention three theses about Metaphysics which my discussion of
causation illustrates.
In Chapter One, I discuss some preliminaries. In Section One,
I consider the method to be used for testing the permissibility of
accounts of causation. I provide a stricter and a less strict
criterion: the Analysis-criterion and the Reduction-criterion. The
former is used in Chapter Two, the latter is used in Chapter Three.
In Section Two, I argue for a distinction between two kinds of
transeunt causation : explanatory and producing causation. I concentrate
on producing causation in this thesis. I also argue that
the class of particulars which can be producing causes - I call this
the class of quasi-events - is larger than the class of events.
Quasi-events are defined in terms of the notion of a causal field,
which I discuss and defend. In Section Three, I briefly expound the
kinds of conditional required for the Conditional Analysis.
Chapter Two has two parts. In Part One, I defend the Conditional
Analysis of causation. I begin with Mackie's account in The
Cement of the Universe and I successively modify this account to
meet various objections. The objections considered include the
problems raised by collateral effects, overdetermination and simultaneous causation. I also briefly consider Lewis' account of
causation. In Part Two, I discuss what account might be given of the
conditionals used in the Conditional Analysis. I conclude that these
conditionals should be treated as meta-inference conditionals based
on a special kind of non-deductive inference.
Chapter Three also has two parts. In Fart One, I defend the
possibility of a regularity account, provided it is to satisfy only
the Reduction-criterion. In Part Two, I provide a regularity account
based on Mackie's account of causal regularities in The Cement of the
Universe. Objections similar to those of Chapter Two are discussed.
Finally, in Chapter Four, I discuss backwards causation, which
I ignore in Chapters Two and Three. I argue that a causal anti-realist
can quite rationally hold the position that backwards causation
is logically possible but metaphysically impossible. More
precisely, there are no coherent examples, described in non-causal
terms, which a causal anti-realist need interpret as cases of
backwards causation.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Forrest, Peter,1948-
Keywords: Causation, Metaphysics
Copyright Holders: The Author
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The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1979. Bibliography: l. 228-230

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