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Where causal dualism comes from

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  1. Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Heidelberg Where causal dualism comes from Monika Koeppl Causality, Cognition and the Constitution of Scientific Phenomena Kent 2006

  2. Introduction • Causal pluralism is a fashionable idea which may imply various philosophical positions. • I focus on causal dualism as the claim that • Question: How to interpret this claim? Is causal dualism a consistent position in itself? (1) the word ‘cause‘ has two different senses: (a) a cause is something that is connected to the effect; (b) a cause is something that makes a difference to the effect; (2) both senses cannot be accomodated within one unified framework, but are equally legitimate explications of the concept of causation. Kent 2006

  3. Overview • Conceptual analysis • Hall‘s argument • The price of making causal dualism a consistent claim • Where causal dualism comes from • Conclusion Kent 2006

  4. Causation as we talk and think about it Causation ‘in the objects‘ Conceptual analysis Conceptual analysis • Assumptions: • There is only one answer to causation ‘in the objects‘. • Causation ‘in the objects‘ and our way of talking about it are interrelated. Kent 2006

  5. Negative causation: e.g. “The failure of the alarm clock is the cause for Billy‘s delay.“ Overdetermination: e.g. “Suzy‘s rock is the cause for the broken bottle (even if Billy‘s would have broken the bottle, too).“ Hall‘s argument Intuitive causal judgements A cause is something that makes a difference to the effect (dependence view). A cause is something that is connected to the effect (production view).  Two concepts of causation. Kent 2006

  6. The price of making causal dualism a consistent claim • Solution A:The two concepts represent two kinds of causal relationships in the world.  departs from the assumption that there is only one answer to causation ‘in the objects‘. • Solution B:Causal dualism is a mere psychological statement. BUT: Why should we have developed two notions of causation? What about the implications for causation ‘in the objects‘? Kent 2006

  7. Interventionist theory of causation (Woodward) Method: Conceptual analysis with a special focus on epistemic and pragmatic aspects (i.e. How do we know about causal relationships? Why do we care about causal relationships?) A causal relation is a relation between variables that are correlated under intervention. Inclusion of negative causation, but exclusion of e.g. variables with only one value Theory of physical causation (Salmon, Dowe) Method: Empirical analysis of causation ‘in the objects‘ with primary justification drawn from empirical sciences (physics) Causal processes are more fundamental than cause-effect-relationships. Exclusion of negative causation as genuine causation Where causal dualism comes from Philosophical explication of the production view and the dependence view Kent 2006

  8. Theory of physical causation e.g. defines necessary and sufficient conditions for what should be called a cause-effect-relationship. The project is based on the assumption that empirical sciences might tell us something about causation ‘in the objects‘ which is independent of our way of thinking about causation. ? Interventionist theory e.g. holds that the truth of a causal relationship depends on objective facts of the world (once the variables are fixed). The project is based on scepticism with regard to the prospects of a reductive analysis of causation. Common assumption: Our way of talking about causation and causation ‘in the objects‘ are interrelated. Why this way? Kent 2006

  9. Where causal dualism comes from • Solution C: • The two concepts represent two ways of tackling the philosophical problem of causation. Which of the two ways is chosen depends on the author‘s conviction whether empirical sciences might yield independent insight about causation ‘in the objects‘ or not. • As one cannot be sceptical and non-sceptical at the same time, both theories cannot be defended seriously at once. Therefore, causal dualism is not a consistent position. • Causal dualism is an artefact of conceptual analysis which ignores these diverging convictions. Kent 2006

  10. But ... • Do these methodological discussions explain why we seem to endorse both views in our intuitive causal judgements? • Yes, because ..… the dependence view is the default view of thinking and talking about causation. As soon as we reach the limits of the dependence view (as in cases of overdetermination), we ‘switch‘ to another perspective. The nonsceptical intuition is part of our everyday convictions and is called for when needed. Kent 2006

  11. Conclusion • There are three ways of interpreting causal dualism. • Causal dualism might be1. a guide to two kinds of causal relationships in the world; 2. a mere psychological statement;3. an artefact of conceptual analysis. • The first two interpretations challenge the assumptions on which conceptual analysis is founded. • The third interpretation challenges conceptual analysis itself. Kent 2006

  12. Thank you! Kent 2006