Show Summary Details

p. 445. What is a cause?locked

  • Stephen Mumford

Abstract

‘What is a cause?’ describes why causation is vital and what causal connections are. Without causation nothing would matter to anything else. We might think of a cause as one event followed by another where if the first had not occurred, the second would not have either. But how do we know that? Test cases could be set up as used in medical randomized controlled trials. However, there are counterfactual dependence theories of causation. The key dispute seems to be between those who think the cause really does produce its effect and those who think there is nothing more than a pattern of events, with no real connection between them.

Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.