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Journal Article

Wesley Salmon's Process Theory of Causality and the Conserved Quantity Theory

Phil Dowe
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 59, No. 2 (Jun., 1992), pp. 195-216
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/188242
Page Count: 22
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Wesley Salmon's Process Theory of Causality and the Conserved Quantity Theory
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Abstract

This paper examines Wesley Salmon's "process" theory of causality, arguing in particular that there are four areas of inadequacy. These are that the theory is circular, that it is too vague at a crucial point, that statistical forks do not serve their intended purpose, and that Salmon has not adequately demonstrated that the theory avoids Hume's strictures about "hidden powers". A new theory is suggested, based on "conserved quantities", which fulfills Salmon's broad objectives, and which avoids the problems discussed.

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