Causality and Modern Science

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2008-11-30
  • Publisher: Routledge

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The causal problem has become topical once again. While we are no longer causalists or believers in the universal truth of the causal principle we continue to think of causes and effects, as well as of causal and noncausal relations among them. Instead of becoming indeterminists we have enlarged determinism to include noncausal categories. And we are still in the process of characterizing our basic concepts and principles concerning causes and effects with the help of exact tools. This is because we want to explain, not just describe, the ways of things. The causal principle is not the only means of understanding the world but it is one of them. The demand for a fourth edition of this distinguished book on the subject of causality is clear evidence that this principle continues to be an important and popular area of philosophic enquiry. Non-technical and clearly written, this book focuses on the ontological problem of causality, with specific emphasis on the place of the causal principle in modern science. Mario Bunge first defines the terminology employed and describes various formulations of the causal principle. He then examines the two primary critiques of causality, the empiricist and the romantic, as a prelude to the detailed explanation of the actual assertions of causal determinism. Bunge analyzes the function of the causal principle in science, touching on such subjects as scientific law, scientific explanation, and scientific prediction. In so doing, he offers an education to layman and specialist alike on the history of a concept and its opponents. Professor William A. Wallace, author of Causality and Scientific Explanation said of an earlier edition of this work: "I regard it as a truly seminal work in this field."

Table of Contents

Preface to the Transaction Editionp. xv
Preface to the Third Editionp. xix
Preface to the Second Editionp. xxix
Preface to the First Editionp. xxx
Acknowledgmentsp. xxxiii
A Clarification of Meaning
Causation and Determination, Causalism and Determinism
Causation, Causal Principle, and Causal Determinismp. 3
The Threefold Meaning of the World 'Causality'
Causation: A Purely Epistemological Category of Relation, or an Ontological Category?
Toward a General Concept of Determinationp. 6
Two Meanings of 'Determination': Property, and Constant Connection
Constant Unique Connections Need Not Be Causal
A Third Meaning of 'Determination': Way of Becoming
Chance: Alien to Determinism?
The Quantum Theory: A Restriction on Determinism or on Causality?
The Spectrum of Categories of Determinationp. 17
Connections Among Different Types of Determinationp. 19
The Essential Components of All Types of Determinacy: Productivity and Lawfulnessp. 22
The Principle of Lawfulness or Orderliness
The Genetic Principle
The Principle of Determinacy
Causation and Determination: Main Viewsp. 26
Conclusionsp. 29
Formulations of the Causal Principle
Definitions of Causep. 31
The Aristotelian Teaching of Causes
Galileo's Definition of Cause
General Features of any Formulation of the Causal Principlep. 35
The Constant-Conjunction Formula of Causationp. 37
Criticism of the Constant-Conjunction Formula of Causationp. 40
The Uniqueness of the Causal Bond: Neglected in the Previous Formula
The Efficacy of Causation: Denied by the Humean Doctrine of Causation
Inadequacy of the Constant-Conjunction Formula
Causation as Necessary (Constant and Unique) Productionp. 46
Supposed Further Refinements of the Necessary-Production Formula of Causationp. 48
Retrospect and Conclusionp. 52
What Causal Determinism Does Not Assert
An Examination of the Empiricist Critique of Causality
Does Causality Involve Contiguity?p. 58
Contiguity: An Essential Component of Causation According to Humeans
Contiguity: A Hypothesis Inconsistent with Empiricism
Explicit Definitions of Causation Do Not Involve Contiguity
Does Causality Involve Antecedence?p. 62
Causality Is Consistent with Instantaneous Links
The Principle of Retarded Action in Special Relativity
Is Causation Identical with Invariable Succession in Time?p. 68
The Interpretation of Causal Process as Succession of States
The Interpretation of Causation as Predictive Ability
Descriptions of Change as Sequence of States Need Not Be Causal
Is Causation Mirrored by Differential Equations?p. 74
Differential Equations as Mirror Images of Uniform Sequences: A Confusion of Dimensions of Language
Noncausal Laws Formulated with the Help of Differential Equations
Integral Equations and Teleology
The Empirical Test of Differential Equations and the Question of the "True Elementary Laws of Nature"
Summary and Conclusionsp. 86
An Examination of the Romantic Critique of Causality
Should Causation Be Replaced by Interdependence?p. 91
The Functional View of Causation
Criticism of the Functional View of Causation
Strange Features of the Functional View of Causation
Causality and Universal Interconnection: The Block Universe and Chancep. 98
Is Causality Fatalistic?p. 101
The Other-Worldliness of Fatalism
The Lawlessness of Fatalism
The Interference of Causes Defeats Fate
Are Historical Events Inevitable?
Is Causality Mechanistic-And is Mechanics Altogether Causal?p. 107
Mechanics Restricts Causes to Forces
Self-Movement in Mechanics: Inertia
Causation in the Laws of Motion of Aristotle, Newton, and Einstein
Action-Reaction, and Inner Stress
Summary and Conclusionsp. 115
What Causal Determinism Does Assert
The Linearity of Causation
Is Multiple Causation Strictly Causal?p. 119
Simple and Multiple Causation
Conjunctive Plurality of Causes: Reducible to Simple Causation
Disjunctive Plurality of Causes: Genuine Multiple Causation
Multiple Causation Is Not Strictly Casual
Causality Involves Artificial Isolationp. 125
The Universal Chaining
Isolation: Fictitious
Isolation: A Methodological Requirement
Paradoxes of Isolation
Causal Chains: A First Approximation
Causality Requires Either a First Cause or Infinite Regressp. 134
The Two Alternatives
Evaluation of Infinite Causal Regress
Causality Involves Continuity of Actionp. 137
Ground and Consequences of Continuity of Action
An Argument Against the Continuity of Causation
Criticism of Hypothesis of Universal Validity of Law of Continuity
Continuity: A Hypothesis with a Wide but Limited Range of Validity
Summary and Conclusionsp. 146
The Unidirectionality of Causation
Causality Neglects the Responsep. 148
Asymmetry of Actio and Passio: Essential for Causality
Reciprocal Action in Physics
Force as One of the Poles of Interaction
Causality and Feedback
Interaction in the Social Field
Interaction in the Theory of Knowledge
The Relation of the Category of Causation to That of Interaction
Exaggerations of Interactionism
Does Dialectics Require the Subsumption of Causation Under Interaction?
Causality Involves the Superposition of Causesp. 165
Summative Character of Causes: Necessary for Causalism
Nonlinearity as Illustration of Nonadditive Connection
Randomness as Further Illustration of Non-additivity of Causal Factors
Summary and Conclusionsp. 170
The Externality of Causation
Causality: Restricted to Extrinsic Determinationp. 173
Efficient Causes: External by Definition
The Peripatetic Principle "Omne quod movetur ab alio movetur"
Causal Determinism Opposes Self-Movement
The Doctrine of Self-Movement
External Causes Combine with Inner Conditions
Freedom: Is It Restricted to the Ethical Domain?
Does Man Make Himself?p. 183
Anthropological Environmentalism
Externalism in Sociopolitical History
The Doctrine of Borrowing in the History of Ideas
Man, the Self-Domesticated Animal
Causality Requires the Persistent Maintenance of the Cause to Secure the Continuance of Processp. 190
The Peripatetic Maxim "Causa cessante cessat effectus"
Instances of Self-Sustained Processes
Summary and Conclusionsp. 194
Causality and Novelty
Causalism Entails the Scholastic Dichotomy Substance-Attributep. 198
The Impact of Causalism on the Theory of the Substance-Attribute Relation
Contingency of Attributes in Hegelianism and Positivism
Beyond Causalism and Accidentalism
Causality Renders Genuine Novelty Impossiblep. 203
The Principle "Causa aequat effectum"
Archaic Origins of Belief in Immutability
Conservative Evolution: From Thomism to Mechanism
Qualitative Immutability and Causation in Kantianism
General Lawfulness Accounts for the Novelty Excluded by Causalism
Positive Features of the Invariance Asserted by Causality
Summary and Conclusionsp. 217
The Function of the Causal Principle in Science
Causality and Rational Knowledge
Is Causality Characteristic of Modern Science?p. 224
Cause and Reasonp. 226
Causation and the Principle of Sufficient Reasonp. 229
Limits of the Principle of Sufficient Reason in Connection with Theoretical Systemsp. 232
Should Everything Be Rationalized?
The "Principle" of Insufficient Reason
Limits of the Principle of Sufficient Reason in Connection with Matters of Factp. 236
On the Formalization of Causal Statementsp. 239
Logical Equivalents, or Logical Correlates of the Causal Connection?
Causation and Implication (Material, Strict, and Causal); the Relational Approach
Recapitulation and Conclusionsp. 245
Causality and Scientific Law
Law and Law Statementp. 248
The Traditional Identification of Causality and Lawfulnessp. 252
Some Noncausal Types of Scientific Lawp. 255
Taxonomical and Morphological Laws
Kinematical Laws
Further Noncausal Laws: Statistical Laws, Principles of Relativity, and Quantum Prohibitions
Causality and Lawfulness in the Sociohistorical Sciencesp. 262
Are Sociology and History Scientific Disciplines?
The Uniqueness of Historical Events
The Lawfulness of Historical Processes
Obstacles to Disclosure of Historical Laws
Noncausal Features of Sociohistorical Events
Scientific Exactness: Not Exhausted by Numerical Accuracy
The Defense of Scientific Method in the Sociohistorical Sciences
Conclusionsp. 280
Causality and Scientific Explanation
Is Science Explanatory?p. 282
Some Aspects of the Problem of Scientific Explanationp. 286
Conditions for an Explanation to Be Scientific
The Logical Structure and Epistemological Meaning of Scientific Explanation
The Ontological Basis of Scientific Explanation. Explanation of Facts and Explanation of Laws
Explanations That Can Be Causalp. 295
Noncausal Explanationsp. 298
Conclusionsp. 305
Causality and Scientific Prediction
Nature and Functions of Scientific Predictionp. 307
Nature of Prediction According to Law
Predictive Nomological Statements: A Third Level of Meaning of 'Law'
Functions of Scientific Prediction
Kinds of Predictionp. 312
Statistical Predictionp. 315
Insufficiency of Prediction of Individual Events
The Statistical Predictions of the Sciences of Man
Are Statistical Predictions Less Complete Than Others?
Degrees of Certainty in Predictionp. 320
Uncertainty with Causal Laws and Quasi Certainty with Statistical Laws
Almost Necessary Truths of Fact
Grounds for the Failure of Specific Predictions
Should Causality be Defined in Terms of Predictability?p. 326
The Positivist Criterion of Causality
Uncertainty and Causality in Quantum Mechanics
Uncertainty and Indeterminacy. Is Ontological Determinism Inconsistent with Epistemological Probabilism?
Conclusionsp. 330
The Place of the Causal Principle in Modern Science
Causality: Neither Myth nor Panaceap. 333
The Domain of Causal Determinacyp. 335
Conditions of Applicability of Causal Hypotheses
Range of Validity of the Causal Principle
Delimitation of the Causal Range of a Particular Lawp. 338
Statement of the Problem
First Stage of the Process: Cycle of Determinants
Second Stage of the Process: Causal Nexus
Third Stage of the Process: Self-Determination
Any Causality Tomorrow?p. 345
A Verbal Trap into Which Philosophers of Verb Have Fallen
How Quantum Mechanics Finally Disappointed Acausalists
General Conclusionsp. 351
Postscriptp. 354
Appendixp. 377
Bibliographyp. 391
Indexp. 402
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