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||I have developed a non-Humean critique of causation based on our
failure to find a viable principle of causality. I explain the
applicability of causal notions by analogy to the applicability of
notions like caloric and gravitational force. Both of the latter are
now discarded by our fundamental science but returned to us in
restricted domains, where they have considerable utility.
||"Causation as Folk
Science""Causation as Folk Science," Philosophers' Imprint Vol. 3, No. 4 reprinted in pp. 11-44, H. Price and R. Corry, Causation, Physics and the Constitution of Reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dowload English or
||A PUZZLE. A point mass can slide
frictionlessly over the surface of the dome shown at left. It sits at
rest at the exact apex and the surface is symmetrical in all
directions. What will happen next? The mass might remain at rest at the
apex indefinitely, just as you would expect. But other behavior is
compatible with Newtonian physics. After an unspecified time--a day, a
week, an eon--the mass can spontaneously move off in any direction. How
is that possible?
||See "The Dome: A Simple Violation of Determinism in
Newtonian Mechanics" in Goodies.
||In "Causation as Folk Science," I urged that the world does not
conform at a fundamental level to some robust principle of causality.
To defend this view, I now argue that the causal notions and principles
of modern physics do not express some universal causal principle,
brought to light by discoveries in physics. Rather they merely assert
that, according to relativity theory, spacetime has an invariant
velocity, that of light; and that theories of matter admit no
propagations faster than light.
||"Do the Causal Principles of Modern Physics Contradict
Causal Anti-Fundamentalism?" pp. 222-34 in Thinking about Causes:
From Greek Philosophy to Modern Physics . eds. P. K. Machamer and
G. Wolters, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007. Download.
||Elsewhere, I have
urged that science is not grounded in a factual principle of causality.
Matthias Frisch, however, in "Causal
Reasoning in Physics," has identified a computation in the physics
of scattering theory that, according to standard text books, requires a
principle of causality for its completion. I argue that this supposed
application is merely the adding of causal labels to an already
presumed fact; and that the principle called upon is either false or
too vague and ambiguous to be serviceable.
||"Is There an Independent Principle of Causality in
Physics?" British Journal for the Philosophy of Science,
60 (2009), pp. 475-86. Download.
||Curie's principle asserts that every symmetry of a cause manifests as a symmetry of the effect. It can be formulated as a tautology that is vacuous until it is instantiated. However instantiation requires us to know the correct way to map causal terminology onto the terms of a science. Causal metaphysics has failed to provide a unique, correct way to carry out the mapping. Thus successful or unsuccessful instantiation merely reflects our freedom of choice in the mapping.
||"Curie's Truism." Prepared for Symposium "Curie's Principle: The Good, the Bad, and the Symmetry Violating," PSA2014: Philosophy of Science Biennial Meeting, November 6-9, 2014, Chicago, IL. Download.