214 Pages
    by Routledge

    214 Pages
    by Routledge

    Causation: The Basics explores questions about what causes are, and how we come to know them, describe them, and put them to use. The book begins with an introduction to the history of philosophical thinking about causation, followed by a series of chapters introducing important contemporary accounts of causation. It concludes with chapters on causation and agency, causal discovery, and causal explanation. Key questions explored in the book include:

    • What distinguishes correlation from causation?
    • How are the causes of singular events related to more general patterns of cause and effect?
    • How are commonsense, scientific, and legal conceptions of causation related?
    • Can certain occurrences be singled out as the main or principle causes of some effect?
    • Is there a place in the world’s causal structure for human agency and free will?

    While introducing the major philosophical debates about the nature of causation, Causation: The Basics emphasizes the uses and challenges of causal reasoning as it occurs in the sciences, engineering, medicine, and other areas of human life. With a glossary of key terms and suggestions for further reading, the book provides readers with a clear and concise introduction to both theoretical and practical questions about causation.

    1. Some Basic Questions about Causation

    2. Thinking about Causation: A Selective History

    3. Causes, Regularities and Laws

    4. Causation, Probability and Chance

    5. Causation and Counterfactuals

    6. Models and Interventions

    7. Causal Processes and Mechanisms

    8. Causes, Purposes and Agency

    9. Finding Causes

    10. Choosing Causes


    Stuart Glennan is the Harry Ice Professor of Philosophy at Butler University. He has published widely on causation and explanation in philosophy of science, and is the author of The New Mechanical Philosophy (2017) and co-editor with Phyllis Illari of the Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy (2018).

    “Causality is arguably the glue that binds together what happens in the world. At the same time, the concept itself has been debated for centuries. This book provides a great introduction to causality, with emphasis on current debates and applications to various fields of research.” —Olaf Dekkers, Leiden University, The Netherlands