Causality and Explanation by Wesley C. Salmon

By Wesley C. Salmon

Wesley Salmon is popular for his seminal contributions to the philosophy of technology. He has powerfully and completely formed dialogue of such matters as lawlike and probabilistic clarification and the interrelation of explanatory notions to causal notions. This detailed quantity brings jointly twenty-six of his essays on matters concerning causality and rationalization, written over the interval 1971-1995. Six of the essays have by no means been released sooner than etc have simply seemed in imprecise venues. the quantity features a portion of obtainable introductory items, in addition to extra complicated and technical items, and should make crucial paintings within the philosophy of technological know-how available to either students and scholars.

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Newtonian mechanics—so it seemed to Laplace and countless other philosophers and scientists—clearly turned the tide against Lucretius in favor of determinism. Although Lucretius' argument is logically valid, its second premise is not true. What appears to Lucretius to be free will, free choice, or free action is in fact determined, according to Laplace, and any appearance of indeterminacy is only the result of incomplete knowledge of all the causes. [Although Earman has shown conclusively that Newtonian mechanics is not deterministic, Laplace unquestionably considered it a thoroughly deterministic theory, and so it was generally regarded prior to the twentieth century.

Efficient causation has a rather mechanical character, in the sense that effect follows cause without reference to purposes, intentions, or end. If running water erodes the earth from beneath a rock, and the rock rolls down a hill, the whole process is normally regarded as one in which efficient causes are operating mechanically. If the rock crashes into the home of a mine owner who has been exploiting mine workers and people think it is God's punishment, they are treating it as a case of final causation, inasmuch as this account does involve reference to purposes.

The mark method and the distinction between causal processes and pseudo-processes were given by Hans Reichenbach ([1928] 1957). ” 3. This connection need not be necessary; such connections are discussed in “Probabilistic Causality” (essay 14). 4. A nanosecond is 10−9 seconds, that is, a billionth of a second in American terminology (one thousand-millionth of a second in British terminology). ) The speed of light is almost exactly one foot per nanosecond. 5. “An ‘At-At’ Theory of Causal Influence” (essay 12) was published prior to Cart-wright's mention of this counterexample.

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