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Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement$
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Nancy Cartwright

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198235071

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198235070.001.0001

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Singular Causes First

Singular Causes First

Chapter:
(p.91) 3 Singular Causes First
Source:
Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement
Author(s):

Nancy Cartwright (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198235070.003.0004

‘Singular Causes First’ rejects Hume's thesis that singular causal facts are reducible to generic ones, adopting a reverse position, taking singular causes as basic. Using idealized examples, Cartwright shows that strategies to establish causal claims without using singular causal facts as inputs all fail, including probabilistic theories of causality. Not only is singular causal input necessary if probabilities are to imply causal connections, the resulting causal output is also at base singular.

Keywords:   David Hume, probabilistic causality, probability, singular causes

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