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Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy$
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Walter Ott

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570430

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570430.001.0001

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Causation and Explanation

Causation and Explanation

Chapter:
(p.110) 12 Causation and Explanation
Source:
Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy
Author(s):

Walter Ott (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570430.003.0013

These two analyses of law, while consistent, allow us to explain Malebranche's complex attitude toward the connection between causation and explanation. Taken as summaries of God's volitions, laws cannot serve as explanations, since all bodily events have one and the same cause, namely, God. Taken, however, as conditionals, which themselves are made true in virtue of God's volitional activity, such laws can serve as explanations (though they can for that reason no longer be genuine causes).

Keywords:   explanation, conditionals, causation, Malebranche, God

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