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Causal foundationalism, physical causation, and difference-making

Glynn, Luke (2013) Causal foundationalism, physical causation, and difference-making. Synthese, 190 (6). pp. 1017-1037. ISSN 0039-7857. doi:10.1007/s11229-011-0058-7.

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An influential tradition in the philosophy of causation has it that all token causal facts are, or are reducible to, facts about difference-making. Challenges to this tradition have typically focused on pre-emption cases, in which a cause apparently fails to make a difference to its effect. However, a novel challenge to the difference-making approach has recently been issued by Alyssa Ney. Ney defends causal foundationalism, which she characterizes as the thesis that facts about difference-making depend upon facts about physical causation. She takes this to imply that causation is not fundamentally a matter of difference-making. In this paper, I defend the difference-making approach against Ney’s argument. I also offer some positive reasons for thinking, pace Ney, that causation is fundamentally a matter of difference-making.

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Additional Information:© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Received: 18 May 2011; Accepted: 13 December 2011; Published online: 21 December 2011. For very helpful comments and suggestions, I would like to thank Christopher Hitchcock, Thomas Kroedel, Dennis Lehmkuhl, Alyssa Ney, Samuel Schindler, Wolfgang Spohn, Joel Velasco, and two anonymous referees for this journal. Funding for this research was provided by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft grant SP279/15-1 and by the James S. McDonnell Foundation Causal Learning Collaborative.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)SP279/15-1
James S. McDonnell Foundation Causal Learning CollaborativeUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Causation; Difference-making; Causal foundationalism; Physical causation; Processes
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130411-092111782
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Official Citation:Glynn, L. (2013). "Causal foundationalism, physical causation, and difference-making." Synthese 190(6): 1017-1037.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:37879
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:11 Apr 2013 23:08
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:32

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