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Causation and ResponsibilityAn Essay in Law, Morals, and Metaphysics$
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Michael S. Moore

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256860

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199256860.001.0001

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Generalist Theories of Causation

Generalist Theories of Causation

(p.471) 19 Generalist Theories of Causation
Causation and Responsibility

Michael S. Moore (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter returns to the metaphysics of the causal relation proper. It examines generalist theories of causation, theories that seek to reduce that relation between states of affairs tokens, to some law-based relation between states of affairs types. Particular attention is paid to the one such generalist theory that has had a large influence in legal theory. This is the nomic sufficiency theory of John Stuart Mill and his intellectual descendents, Hart, Honore, Mackie, and Wright. This is the view that reduces singular causal relations to instantiated scientific laws, and that reduces scientific laws to sets of minimally sufficient conditions (where each such condition is necessary to the sufficiency of the set). The thesis of the chapter is that generalist theories founder on the same seven arguments that doom the counterfactual theory as well.

Keywords:   nomic sufficiency, minimally sufficient conditions, sufficient set, metaphysics, causal relation, tokens, types, John Stuart Mill, Hart, Honore

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