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Every Thing Must GoMetaphysics Naturalized$
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James Ladyman, Don Ross, and and David Spurrett with John Collier

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276196

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276196.001.0001

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Causation in a Structural World

Causation in a Structural World

Chapter:
(p.258) 5 Causation in a Structural World
Source:
Every Thing Must Go
Author(s):

James Ladyman (Contributor Webpage)

Don Ross (Contributor Webpage)

David Spurrett (Contributor Webpage)

John Collier

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276196.003.0005

This chapter argues that the idea of causation has similar status to ideas of cohesion, forces, and things. Appreciating the role of causation in a notional world is crucial to understanding the nature of the special sciences, and the general ways in which they differ from fundamental physics. Causation, unlike cohesion, is both a notional-world concept and a folk concept. Moreover, causation, unlike cohesion, is a basic category of traditional metaphysics, including metaphysics that purports to be naturalistic but falls short of this ambition. This chapter also argues that causation, just like cohesion, is a representational real pattern that is necessary for an adequately comprehensive science. It begins with an account that eliminates causation altogether on naturalistic grounds, and then shows, using principle of naturalistic closure (PNC)-mandated motivations, why this outright eliminativism is too strong. The eliminativist argument to be discussed is due to Bertrand Russell, whose view has some important contemporary adherents among philosophers of physics.

Keywords:   causation, cohesion, real patterns, Bertrand Russell, principle of naturalistic closure, eliminativism, special sciences, fundamental physics, natural kinds

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