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Causalidade: Abordagens Contemporâneas

Causalidade: Abordagens Contemporâneas

Causalidade: Abordagens Contemporâneas
Causality: Contemporary Approaches
Editors: Bruno Nobre, Ricardo Barroso Batista
2021, Volume 77, No. 4
DOI 10.17990/RPF/2021_77_4_0000

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Causalidade: Abordagens Contemporâneas 

Causality: Contemporary Approaches 

Editor Bruno Nobre
Editor Ricardo Barroso Batista
Rights © 2021 Aletheia - Associação Científica e Cultural | © 2021 Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
Publication Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
Volume 77
Issue 4
Place Braga
Publisher Axioma - Publicacções da Faculdade de Filosofia


9789726973454 (Paperback) ; 9789726973461 (eBook)


0870-5283; 2183-461X

Date 2021
DOI 10.17990/RPF/2021_77_4_0000
Language Portuguese, English, Spanish
# of Pages 446
Date Added 31/01/2022
Modified 31/01/2022
From the dawn of philosophy, with pre-Socratic thinkers, to the present day, the concept of causality continues to captivate and divide philosophers in all areas. On the one hand, as it is a fundamental concept for understanding the World and its dynamism, the notion of causality remains attractive. On the other hand, it is a source of discord, since it can be understood and thought of in different ways, which leads to contradictory visions about reality. In face of these two stances, the contemporary philosophical debate about the nature of causality is fragmented into a large number of positions, each of which implies a different worldview. In this context, this issue of Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia (RPF) intends to contribute to the philosophical reflection on the challenges posed by the different perspectives on causality and corresponding problematics. This fragmentation and variety of perspectives can be seen in three distinct facets: its basic conception, its ontological status, and the impact of science on causal understanding.The first strand concerns the divergence that exists around the basic conception of causality. In the Aristotelian-Thomist tradition, causality was understood in terms of what we today call ontological dependence, that is, the idea that one thing is dependent on another, or that one entity depends metaphysically on another to be what and how it is. This dependence was read in two distinct ways: the extrinsic (final and efficient causes) and the intrinsic (material and formal causes).Currently, in the wake of Galileo and David Hume, causality tends to be seen as a strict relationship of conjugation of events, where the event-cause is temporally prior to the event-effect. In this sense, D. Hume described causality as exemplifying an explicit set of mere regularities. More recently, this model was renewed by J. L. Mackie and D. Davidson, who no longer describe regularities as explicit instances (such as Hume), but rather as implicit relations between “compatible” properties.In an opposite way, Armstrong, while agreeing with Mackie and Davidson that the nature of the causal relationship must be implicit, refuses to describe causality as an example of contingent regularities. Armstrong prefers to describe causality as “necessary” because of the permanent character of “repeatability” that causal relationships seem to exhibit under equal conditions. Because of this, the author suggests that causality should be understood as a manifestation of implicit laws existing in the relationship between objects and their properties.More recently, D. Lewis proposed an alternative way to bridge the gap between Armstrong’s “necessary” vision and the neo-human “contingent” vision. Based on his ontology of the plurality of worlds, Lewis described causality in terms of counterfactual dependence. Thus, on the one hand, there is causal need when a cause-effect event necessarily occurs in all possible worlds and, on the other hand, there is causal contingency when a cause-effect event can occur in a possible world, but not in all possible worlds. The second aspect of the fragmentation of the concept causality concerns its ontological status. Some of the authors – the defenders of regularities – think that causality is a not primitive characteristic of the World, i.e., it is a category that should be understood in terms of other more fundamental properties. On the contrary, M. Tooley and G. E. Anscombe consider that causality is not only the “cement” of the Universe, but it is the very foundation of reality, in such a way that the most fundamental level of the real cannot be thought of without the recourse to primitive causality.Others, like S. Mumford, prefer to categorize ontologically causality in terms of “causal powers,” with the dispositions of reality solving the old dichotomies introduced by the Humean regularities. The models of regularities describe the World as a set of autonomous entities, in which regularities would be the “cement” that would unite entities through external and contingent relations. In the opposite sense, the metaphysics of powers extends the domain of causality, and causal relations can be described as internal relations of Nature and necessary for the dynamism of the Cosmos. Therefore, while Hume’s followers conceptualized causal relations as asymmetric relations, ordered by temporal priority, the defenders of dispositionalism can support causal symmetry – typical of the Aristotelian-Thomist tradition – without needing temporal priority to order and categorize the internal relations of the World.The third aspect of the fragmentation of causality concerns the impact that developments within science have brought to the understanding and description of causality. For example, Newtonian mechanics postulates an instantaneous action at a distance, while the theory of relativity rejects this postulate. In another sense, a certain Laplacian view suggests that the foundations of causality are materially deterministic, while certain interpretations of quantum mechanics seem to suggest that the fundamental processes of the physical world are indeterministic in their essence. Also, the contribution of mathematics in this field, namely through the study of probabilities and statistics, has brought new perspectives to the debate on causality. The advances in science have also brought to the center of the debate the classic problems of mereology. On the one hand, supporters of physicalism and naturalism argue that causality should be understood according to a reductionist model, that is, a model in which the causes acting on the “whole” are simply the sum of the effects of its “parts.” On the other hand, opponents of causal reductionism argue that the “whole” is greater than the sum of its “parts.” Among the opponents of reductionism are the defenders of emergentism, for whom new properties and causal relationships emerge at the higher levels, even though they do not interact with them at the lower levels. This idea is known as “top-down causality.”In short, although there is a great fragmentation in the philosophical debate about the nature of causality, the interest about this concept and the will to create bridges remains a constant. It is within this complex context, that RPF offers this special volume with fifteen philosophical contributions that have been distributed among three sections.

Bruno Nobre and Ricardo Barroso Batista, “Causality: Contemporary Approaches,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1141–50,


I. Causalidade e Metafísica | Causality and Metaphysics


Uwe Meixner, “Causal Predicates, Causal Principles, and the Core of Causation,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1153–74,


Michał Oleksowicz, “New Mechanism and Causality: The Case of Interactive Causal Pluralism,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1175–1208,


Brian Garrett, “On Backwards Causation,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1209–12,


Jan Hauska, “The Causal Nature of Dispositions and Modality,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1213–42,


Christopher Hughes, “Anselm, Existence, and the Metaphysics of Intentionality: Proslogion 2 Revisited,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1243–76,


II. Causalidade, Epistemologia e Cognição | Causality, Epistemology and Cognition


John Shand, “Consciousness: Removing the Hardness and Solving the Problem,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1279–96,


Christian Kanzian, “Dispositionalism at Work: A Causal Theory of Perception,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1297–1314,


Michaël Bauwens, “Causes, Contingency and Freedom: A Reply to Anscombe, Mumford and Anjum,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1315–38,


Peter Gildenhuys, “The Nonidentity Problem Is an Artifact of Faulty Causal Reasoning,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1339–54,


Gehad Marcon Bark, “Kant e a Causalidade: uma Leitura Baseada na Representação do Tempo,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1355–78,


III. Causalidade e as Ciências Naturais | Causality and the Natural Sciences



L. S. F. OlavoAdemir E. Santana, and Samuel Simon, “Causation, Symmetry and Quantum Physics: Space-like Causality and Conserved Quantities,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1381–96,


João Barbosa, “The Anthropic Cosmological Principle: A Thematic Case of Teleology and Causality in Contemporary Science,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia77, no. 4 (2021): 1397–1408,


Juan Bautista Bengoetxea, “Causalidad y regulación: algunas dificultades de los ensayos controlados aleatorizados,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1409–38,


Luís Ramos, “Sobre a Questão dos Limites da Aplicação da Causalidade em Ciência: a Posição de Delfim Santos,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1439–54,


Gökhan Akbay, “Gene Centrism, Causal Specificity and Missing Heritability,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1455–78,




Mateo Belgrano, “Access to Being: Elitism in M. Heidegger’s Philosophy,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1481–98,


Rômulo Eisinger Guimarães, “On the (Possible) Moral Meaning of the Beautiful in Kant,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1499–1528,


Hélder António de Mendonça Silva and Jacinto Jardim, “Rumo à Escola Cultural Pluridimensional segundo Manuel Ferreira Patrício,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1529–46,


Ricardo Barroso Batista, “Book Review - Trueman, Robert. Properties and Propositions: The Metaphysics of Higher-Order Logic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1549–54,


Daniel Mariano Leiro, “Book Review - Vattimo, Gianni. Essere e dintorni. Milan: La nave di Teseo, 2018,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 4 (2021): 1555–62,


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