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The Limits of Causality

The Limits of Causality

Louis Caruana, “The Limits of Causality,” in The Insides of Nature: Causality and Conceptions of Nature, ed. Álvaro Balsas and Bruno Nobre, Axioma Studies in Philosophy of Nature and in Philosophy and History of Science 4 (Braga: Axioma - Publicações da Faculdade de Filosofia, 2020), 31–54, https://doi.org/10.17990/Axistudies/2020_04_031.

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The Limits of Causality

Type Book Section
Editor Álvaro Balsas
Editor Bruno Nobre
Author Louis Caruana
URL https://doi.org/10.17990/Axistudies/2020_04_031
Rights © 2020 Aletheia - Associação Científica e Cultural
Series Axioma Studies in Philosophy of Nature and in Philosophy and History of Science
Place Braga
Publisher Axioma - Publicações da Faculdade de Filosofia
Pages 31-54
ISBN 978-972-697-319-5
Date 2020
Series Number 4
Language English
Abstract For decades, much literature on causality has focused on causal processes and causal reasoning in the natural sciences. According to a relatively new trend however, such research on causality remains insufficient because of its refusal to accept a certain degree of pluralism within the concept, a pluralism that is evident in how we use ideas of cause and effect in everyday life. I will build on work in this latter trend, following philosophers like G. E. M. Anscombe and N. Cartwright. I explore the limits of the concept of causality by determining the extent to which our ideas can remain consistent as we stretch this concept along two dimensions, one concerning the maximizing of the effect and the other the maximizing of explanatory depth. Dealing with the cause of the universe, such an investigation touches upon some issues in current empirical cosmology and revisits some classic arguments regarding philosophy of religion and the Platonic notion of participation. The results indicate that the use of current conceptual, logical and analytic tools can deliver new insights that are useful especially for those interested in how causality in the natural sciences links with causality in everyday life.
Book Title The Insides of Nature: Causality and Conceptions of Nature
Date Added 6/4/2020, 3:06:03 PM
Modified 6/4/2020, 3:15:22 PM

Tags:

  • Aquinas,
  • causality,
  • contingency,
  • explanation,
  • multiverse,
  • Spinoza,
  • universe

Notes:

  • Anscombe, G. E. M. ‘Causality and Determination’ (first published 1971). In Causation, edited by E. Sosa and M. Tooley, 88-104. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.
    Cartwright, Nancy. Hunting Causes and Using Them: approaches in philosophy and economics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
    Caruana, Louis. Nature: its conceptual architecture. Bern: Peter Lang, 2014.
    Clavier, Paul. Le concept de monde. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 2000.
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    De Vreese, Leen, ed. Pluralism in the philosophy of causation. Special issue Philosophica 77, no. 1 (2006). Ghent: Department of Philosophy and Moral Science. http://www.philosophica.ugent.be/index.php
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    Hume, David. Dialogues concerning Natural Religion. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, Ltd, 1990.
    Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason (first published 1781). Translated by N. K. Smith. London: Macmillan; New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1929.
    Leibniz, G. W. Monadology. Translated by N. Rescher. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburg Press, 1991.
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    Ruben, David-Hillel. Explaining Explanation. London: Routledge, 1990.
    Russell, Bertrand. ‘The Existence of God: a debate between Bertrand Russell and Father F. C. Copleston, S. J.’ In: B. Russell, Why I am not a Christian: and other essays on religion and related subjects, edited by P. Edwards, 125-153. London: Routledge, 2004.
    Sedley, David. ‘Platonic Causes.’ Phronesis 43, no. 2 (1998): 114-132. doi: 10.1163/15685289860511050.
    Spinoza, Benedict De. Ethics proved in geometrical order. Translated by M. Silverthorne and M. J. Kisner. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
    Thomas Aquinas. The Summa Theologica. Translated by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Benziger Bros. edition, 1947. https://dhspriory.org/thomas/summa/
    Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Translated by C. K. Ogden. London: Routledge, 1999.

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