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Causation as Folk Science

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

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      Abstract

      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
      Additional Information: Revised version published in Philosophers' Imprint http://www.philosophersimprint.org/003004/
      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 11:11
      Item ID: 1214
      URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/1214

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