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Local Theories of Causation and the a posteriori Identification of the Causal Relation

Alexander Rueger
Erkenntnis (1975-)
Vol. 48, No. 1 (Jan., 1998), pp. 25-38
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20012822
Page Count: 14
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Local Theories of Causation and the a posteriori Identification of the Causal Relation
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Abstract

The need to find an intrinsic characterization of what makes a relation between events causal arises not only in 'local' theories of causation like Salmon's process theory but also in 'global' approaches like Lewis' counterfactual theory. According to the localist intuition, whether a process connecting two events is causal should depend only on what goes on between the events, not on conditions that hold elsewhere in the world. If such intrinsic characterizations could be found, an identification of the causal relation in the actual world (though not in other possible worlds) with physical processes may be feasible (the 'a posteriori identification'). I consider recent proposals made for intrinsic characterizations of causality and conclude that none of them is able to deliver the intended result.

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