The conserved quantity theory of causation and chance raising

Dowe, P (1999) The conserved quantity theory of causation and chance raising. Philosophy of Science, 66 3: S486-S501. doi:10.1086/392747

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Author Dowe, P
Title The conserved quantity theory of causation and chance raising
Journal name Philosophy of Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0031-8248
Publication date 1999-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1086/392747
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 66
Issue 3
Start page S486
End page S501
Total pages 16
Place of publication Chicago, IL, United States
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Language eng
Abstract In this paper I offer an 'integrating account' of singular causation, where the term 'integrating' refers to the following program for analysing causation. There are two intuitions about causation, both of which face serious counterexamples when used as the basis for an analysis of causation. The 'process' intuition, which says that causes and effects are linked by concrete processes, runs into trouble with cases of misconnections', where an event which serves to prevent another fails to do so on a particular occasion and yet the two events are linked by causal processes. The chance raising intuition, according to which causes raise the chance of their effects, easily accounts for misconnections but faces the problem of chance lowering causes, a problem easily accounted for by the process approach. The integrating program attempts to provide an analysis of singular causation by synthesising the two insights, so as to solve both problems. In this paper I show that extant versions of the integrating program due to Eells, Lewis, and Menzies fail to account for the chance-lowering counterexample. I offer a new diagnosis of the chance lowering case, and use that as a basis for an integrating account of causation which does solve both cases. In doing so, I accept various assumptions of the integrating program, in particular that there are no other problems with these two approaches. As an example of the process account, I focus on the recent CQ theory of Wesley Salmon (1997).
Keyword History & Philosophy Of Science
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
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Created: Mon, 13 Aug 2007, 11:25:30 EST