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Causality in the Sciences$
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Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo, and Jon Williamson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199574131

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574131.001.0001

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Third time's a charm: Causation, science and Wittgensteinian pluralism

Third time's a charm: Causation, science and Wittgensteinian pluralism

Chapter:
(p.907) 42 Third time's a charm: Causation, science and Wittgensteinian pluralism
Source:
Causality in the Sciences
Author(s):

Julian Reiss

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574131.003.0042

Pluralism about causation seems to be an attractive option as the term seems to defy analysis in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions. This chapter examines a specific form of conceptual pluralism about causation, one that has been termed ‘Wittgensteinian’. The chapter presents three such accounts in detail. All three accounts share the rejection of attempting to define ‘cause’ in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions, and they regard instances of causal relationships to share family resemblance at best. After criticizing and rejecting two earlier accounts, the chapter develops an alternative that, to the best of current knowledge, does not suffer from the deficiencies of its fellows and is more firmly grounded in some of Wittgenstein's ideas about meaning.

Keywords:   causation, conceptual analysis, pluralism, Wittgenstein

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