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Causation as Folk Science

Norton, John D. (2003) Causation as Folk Science. [Preprint]

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I deny that the world is fundamentally causal, deriving the skepticism on non-Humean grounds from our enduring failures to find a contingent, universal principle of causality that holds true of our science. I explain the prevalence and fertility of causal notions in science by arguing that a causal character for many sciences can be recovered, when they are restricted to appropriately hospitable domains. There they conform to a loose collection of causal notions that form a folk science of causation. This recovery of causation exploits the same generative power of reduction relations that allows us to recover gravity as a force from Einstein's general relativity and heat as a conserved fluid, the caloric, from modern thermal physics, when each theory is restricted to appropriate domains. Causes are real in science to the same degree as caloric and gravitational forces.

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Item Type: Preprint
Norton, John D.
Additional Information: Revised version published in Philosophers' Imprint
Keywords: cause causation causality determinism skepticism reduction
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
Depositing User: John Norton
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2003
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:11
Item ID: 1214

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