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Transitivity and the Ontology of Causation

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2014
<mark>Journal</mark>South African Journal of Philosophy
Issue number1
Volume33
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)101-111
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

It is argued that it is very hard to analyse causation in such a way that prevents everything from causing everything else. This is particularly true if we assume that the causal relation is transitive (i.e., if A causes B and B causes C, then A automatically causes C), for it all too often happens that causal chains that we wish to keep separate pass through common intermediate events. It is also argued that treating causes as aspects of events, rather than the events themselves, will not completely resolve this problem. This is because aspects have to be highly disjunctive, and disjunctive conditions tend to undermine causal connections, a fact that is most clearly seen when causation is analysed in terms of ‘INUS’ (insufficient but necessary parts of unnecessary but sufficient) conditions.