Causation and its Basis in Fundamental Physics

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9780199936205: Causation and its Basis in Fundamental Physics

This book is the first comprehensive attempt to solve what Hartry Field has called "the central problem in the metaphysics of causation": the problem of reconciling the need for causal notions in the special sciences with the limited role of causation in physics. If the world evolves fundamentally according to laws of physics, what place can be found for the causal regularities and principles identified by the special sciences? Douglas Kutach answers this question by invoking a novel distinction between fundamental and derivative reality and a complementary conception of reduction. He then constructs a framework that allows all causal regularities from the sciences to be rendered in terms of fundamental relations. By drawing on a methodology that focuses on explaining the results of specially crafted experiments, Kutach avoids the endless task of catering to pre-theoretical judgments about causal scenarios.

This volume is a detailed case study that uses fundamental physics to elucidate causation, but technicalities are eschewed so that a wide range of philosophers can profit. The book is packed with innovations: new models of events, probability, counterfactual dependence, influence, and determinism. These lead to surprising implications for topics like Newcomb's paradox, action at a distance, Simpson's paradox, and more. Kutach explores the special connection between causation and time, ultimately providing a never-before-presented explanation for the direction of causation. Along the way, readers will discover that events cause themselves, that low barometer readings do cause thunderstorms after all, and that we humans routinely affect the past more than we affect the future.

Le informazioni nella sezione "Riassunto" possono far riferimento a edizioni diverse di questo titolo.

L'autore:

Douglas Kutach is a philosopher of physics who has published on time's arrows, time travel, and more general metaphysical issues. He is the founder of Empirical Fundamentalism, a philosophical program dedicated to addressing traditional philosophical problems using a distinction between fundamental and derivative reality.

Contenuti:

  • 1 Empirical Analysis and the Metaphysics of Causation
  • 1.1 Empirical Analysis
  • 1.1.1 The Distinctive Features of Empirical Analysis
  • 1.2 Empirical Analysis of the Metaphysics of Causation
  • 1.2.1 Effective Strategies
  • 1.3 Empirical Analysis of the Non-metaphysical Aspects of Causation
  • 1.4 Causation as Conceptually Tripartite
  • 1.5 A Sketch of the Metaphysics of Causation
  • 1.6 Fundamental and Derivative
  • 1.6.1 The Kinetic Energy Example
  • 1.6.2 Some Constitutive Principles of Fundamentality
  • 1.7 Abstreduction
  • 1.8 STRICT Standards and RELAXED Standards
  • 1.9 Limitations on the Aspirations of Empirical Analysis
  • 1.10 Comparison between Empirical Analysis and Orthodox Analysis
  • 1.11 Summary
  • I THE BOTTOM CONCEPTUAL LAYER OF CAUSATION
  • 2 Fundamental Causation
  • 2.1 Preliminaries
  • 2.1.1 Events
  • 2.1.2 Laws
  • 2.2 Terminance
  • 2.2.1 Causal Contribution
  • 2.2.2 Trivial Terminance
  • 2.3 The Space-time Arena
  • 2.4 Classical Gravitation
  • 2.4.1 Galilean Space-time
  • 2.4.2 Terminants in Classical Gravitation
  • 2.4.3 Overdetermination in Classical Gravitation
  • 2.4.4 Instantaneous Causation
  • 2.5 Relativistic Electromagnetism
  • 2.5.1 Minkowski Space-time
  • 2.5.2 Minimal Terminants in Relativistic Electromagnetism
  • 2.5.3 Classical Unified Field Theory
  • 2.6 Content Independence
  • 2.7 Continuity and Shielding
  • 2.8 Transitivity
  • 2.9 Determinism
  • 2.10 Stochastic Indeterminism
  • 2.10.1 Stochastic Lattices
  • 2.10.2 A Toy Theory of Particle Decay
  • 2.11 Non-stochastic Indeterminism
  • 2.11.1 Newtonian Indeterminism
  • 2.11.2 Contribution Extended
  • 2.12 General Relativity
  • 2.12.1 Spatio-temporal Indeterminism
  • 2.12.2 Closed Time-like Curves
  • 2.13 Quantum Mechanics
  • 2.13.1 The Quantum Arena and its Contents
  • 2.13.2 Bohmian Mechanics
  • 2.13.3 Spontaneous Collapse Interpretations
  • 2.13.4 Other Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics
  • 2.14 Summary
  • II THE MIDDLE CONCEPTUAL LAYER OF CAUSATION
  • 3 Counterfactuals and Difference-making
  • 3.1 General Causation
  • 3.2 Counterfactuals
  • 3.3 Goodman's Account of Counterfactuals
  • 3.4 The Nomic Conditional
  • 3.5 Comparison to Ordinary Language Conditionals
  • 3.6 Prob-dependence
  • 3.7 Contrastive Events
  • 3.8 Summary
  • 4 Derivative Causation
  • 4.1 Influence
  • 4.2 Prob-influence
  • 4.3 General Causation
  • 4.4 Temporally Extended Events
  • 4.5 Idiomatic Differences between Promotion and Causation
  • 4.6 Aspect Promotion
  • 4.7 Promotion by Omission
  • 4.8 Contrastivity
  • 4.9 Transitivity
  • 4.10 Continuity
  • 4.11 Shielding
  • 4.12 Partial Influence
  • 4.13 Summary
  • 5 The Empirical Content of Promotion
  • 5.1 The Promotion Experiment
  • 5.2 Insensitivity Considerations
  • 5.3 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
  • 5.4 The Asymmetry of Bizarre Coincidences
  • 5.5 The Analogy to Thermal and Mechanical Energy
  • 5.6 Broad and Narrow Promotion
  • 5.7 Inferences from Empirical Data to Claims of Promotion
  • 5.7.1 Simpson's Paradox
  • 5.8 Why There are Effective Strategies
  • 5.9 Mechanistic Theories of Causation
  • 6 Backtracking Influence
  • 6.1 The Direction of Influence
  • 6.2 Proof of Causal Directness
  • 6.3 A Search for Empirical Phenomena Behind Causal Directness
  • 6.4 'Past-directed then Future-directed' Influence
  • 7 Causal Asymmetry
  • 7.1 The Empirical Content of the Causal Asymmetry
  • 7.2 Causation and Advancement
  • 7.3 An Explanation of the Advancement Asymmetry
  • 7.3.1 Prob-influence through Backtracking
  • 7.3.2 Directly Past-directed Prob-influence
  • 7.3.3 Summary
  • 7.4 Pseudo-backtracking Prob-influence
  • 7.5 The Entropy Asymmetry and Causal Directionality
  • 7.6 Recent Alternative Explanations of Causal Asymmetry
  • 7.6.1 The Albert-Kutach-Loewer Approach
  • 7.6.2 The Price-Weslake Approach
  • 7.6.3 The Fork Asymmetry Approach
  • 7.7 Fundamental Influence Asymmetry
  • 7.7.1 Fundamental Influence Asymmetry by Fiat
  • 7.7.2 Fundamental Influence Asymmetry by Happenstance
  • 7.8 Summary
  • III THE TOP CONCEPTUAL LAYER OF CAUSATION
  • 8 Culpable Causation
  • 8.1 The Empirical Insignificance of Culpability
  • 8.1.1 Part I: Singular Causation
  • 8.1.2 Part II: General Causation
  • 8.2 Culpability as a Heuristic for Learning about Promotion
  • 8.3 Culpability as an Explanatory Device
  • 8.4 Culpable Causes as Proxies for Terminants and Promoters
  • 8.5 Commentary
  • 9 The Psychology of Culpable Causation
  • 9.1 The Toy Theory of Culpable Causation
  • 9.2 Culpability1
  • 9.2.1 Salience
  • 9.2.2 Irreflexivity
  • 9.2.3 Asymmetry
  • 9.2.4 Significant Promotion
  • 9.3 Shortcomings of Culpability1
  • 9.3.1 Precise Character of the Effect
  • 9.3.2 Overlapping Causation
  • 9.3.3 Probability-Lowering Causes
  • 9.4 Culpability2
  • 9.5 Shortcomings of Culpability2
  • 9.5.1 Saved Fizzles
  • 9.5.2 Early Cutting Preëmption
  • 9.5.3 Late Cutting Preëmption
  • 9.6 Culpability3
  • 9.7 Culpability4
  • 9.8 Summary
  • 10 Causation in a Physical World
  • 10.1 Summary
  • 10.2 Future Directions
  • References

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