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The Metaphysics of Relations$
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Anna Marmodoro and David Yates

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198735878

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198735878.001.0001

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Causal Relations

Causal Relations

(p.127) 8 Causal Relations
The Metaphysics of Relations

John Heil

Oxford University Press

In this chapter the received view of causation, according to which causal relations are a distinctive species of external relation, and causal relata are taken to be pairs of events, the causing event preceding its effect, is discussed. The relation itself is presumed to be nonreflexive, asymmetrical, and transitive. This chapter considers the implications of adopting a conception of causation according to which causal relations are understood as the manifestings of reciprocal dispositions or powers. On such a conception, causation would most naturally be seen as a kind of symmetrical, nontransitive, internal relation, a relation founded on non-relational features of its relata. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the consequences of a view of this kind for familiar conceptions of natural necessity.

Keywords:   internal relations, external relations, causal relation, reductionism, powers, powerful causation, reciprocal manifestation, necessity

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