Physical Causation

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This is a clear account of causation based firmly in contemporary science. Dowe discusses in a systematic way, a positive account of causation: the conserved quantities account of causal processes which he has been developing over the last ten years. The book describes causal processes and interactions in terms of conserved quantities: a causal process is the worldline of an object which possesses a conserved quantity, and a causal interaction involves the exchange of conserved quantities. Further, things that are properly called cause and effect are appropriately connected by a set of causal processes and interactions. The distinction between cause and effect is explained in terms of a version of the fork theory: the direction of a certain kind of ordered pattern of events in the world. This particular version has the virtue that it allows for the possibility of backwards causation, and therefore time travel. – Contents : Acknowledgements. – 1. Horses for courses: causation and the task of philosophy; – 2. Hume's legacy: regularity, counterfactual and probabilistic theories of causation; – 3. Transference theories of causation; – 4. Process theories of causation; – 5. The conserved quantity theory; – 6. Prevention and omission; – 7. Connecting causes and effects; – 8. The direction of causation and backwards-in-time causation. – Includes bibliographical references (p. 211-219) and index.