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Causation

Hitchcock, Christopher (2008) Causation. In: The Routledge companion to philosophy of science. Routledge , London, pp. 317-326. ISBN 9780415354035. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20140408-144532497

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Abstract

[Introduction] In a paper read before the Aristotelian Society, Bertrand Russell (1913: 1) claimed: All philosophers, of every school, imagine that causation is one of the fundamental axioms or postulates of science, yet, oddly enough, in advanced sciences such as gravitational astronomy, the word "cause" never appears ... To me, it seems that ... the reason why physics has ceased to look for causes is that, in fact, there are no such things. The law of causality, I believe, like much that passes muster among philosophers, is a relic of a bygone age, surviving, like the monarchy, only because it is erroneously supposed to do no harm. Russell was hardly alone in that opinion. Other writers of the period, such as Ernst Mach, Karl Pearson, and Pierre Duhem, also rejected as unscientific the notion of causation. Their view was shared also by most of the logical positivists. Indeed, the concept of causation was regarded with suspicion by philosophers, as well as by many statisticians and social scientists, throughout much of the twentieth century.


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Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140408-144532497
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Deposited By: Susan Vite
Deposited On:10 Apr 2014 22:19
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 06:22

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