Transitivity and the Ontology of Causation

Unwin, Nicholas Leslie (2014) Transitivity and the Ontology of Causation. South African Journal of Philosophy, 33 (1). pp. 101-111. ISSN 0258-0136

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It is argued that it is very hard to analyse causation in such a way that prevents everything from causing everything else. This is particularly true if we assume that the causal relation is transitive (i.e., if A causes B and B causes C, then A automatically causes C), for it all too often happens that causal chains that we wish to keep separate pass through common intermediate events. It is also argued that treating causes as aspects of events, rather than the events themselves, will not completely resolve this problem. This is because aspects have to be highly disjunctive, and disjunctive conditions tend to undermine causal connections, a fact that is most clearly seen when causation is analysed in terms of ‘INUS’ (insufficient but necessary parts of unnecessary but sufficient) conditions.

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Journal Article
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South African Journal of Philosophy
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08 Oct 2018 12:26
Last Modified:
21 Sep 2023 02:28