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Understanding causation in the Mohist Canons: A difference-making view of actual causation

Zhu, Fan and Zhang, Yuxiang (2021) Understanding causation in the Mohist Canons: A difference-making view of actual causation. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Later Mohists place the utmost importance on causation in the Mohist Canons. However, the causation theory in the Mohist Canons is not well-understood in the literature. Traditional research has simply investigated gu 故 (cause) as logical conditions, and specifically, a xiaogu 小故 (major cause) could be regarded as a part of a dagu 大故 (minor cause). In this essay, we interpret gu 故 (cause) in the Mohist Canons as actual causes and argue in favour of a difference-making causation theory for later Mohists. We demonstrate in an actual scenario that a major cause provides a causal explanation that is distinct pragmatically from minor causes. Mainly motivated by Graham (1989), we put forth that later Mohists proposed this distinction for challenging the theory of causation by cosmologists in the relevant period.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Zhu, Fanfanzhu@ruc.edu.cn
Zhang, Yuxiang
Keywords: Later Mohist, actual causation, difference-maker, causal explanation, cosmologists
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Depositing User: Dr. Fan Zhu
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2021 05:22
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2021 05:22
Item ID: 19987
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Date: December 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19987

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