Causal Relations
Davidson (Donald)
Source: Davidson - Essays on Actions and Events, Chapter 7
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

  1. What is the logical form of singular causal statements like 'the stabbing caused Caesar's death'?
  2. Much discussion of causality1 vacillates uneasily between the view that 'caused' here is a two-place predicate standing between genuine singular terms that refer to events, and the view that 'caused' is a (non-truth-functional) sentential connective standing between crypto-sentences.
  3. No satisfactory semantical interpretation has been given to back the second view, and there is some reason to think none could be.
  4. The proposed solution is to embrace an explicit ontology of events, and to interpret singular causal sentences, causal laws, and many other ordinary sentences, like 'Caesar died,' as being about them.
  5. Various problems about causality2 then receive a natural solution and confusions melt away.


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