Richard Taylor´S Metaphysics Of Causation Essay

1547 words - 7 pages

Causation is the relation between cause and effect, or the act of bringing about an effect, which may be an event, a state, or an object. The concept of causation has long been recognized as one of the fundamental philosophical importance. Hume called it the “cement of the universe”: causation is the relation that connects events and objects of this world in significant relationships. Further, causation is intimately related to explanation: to ask for an explanation of an event is, to ask for its cause. But according to Richard Taylor, causation is not that simple and discoverable relationship between states, processes and events. “What we want, then, is a conceptual analysis of this ...view middle of the document...

For him, if something not identical with him was the cause of his behavior so only by that he would admit that he caused that external or internal event. We cause our own actions conceived as a bodily movement, without doing anything else. When I move my arm, I am aware that it is moving because of me and we are morally responsible for many things we do. Person as cause is most prominently associated with the sui generis 'agent causation' postulated by Richard Taylor and others.
Besides, modern philosophers have been satisfied that the concept of causation was reduced to an idea of efficient cause. In another word, withdrawing the ideas of power and necessity from causation as constancy of sequence is not satisfactory for our contemporary metaphysical quest. Those ideas are essential to attain the better knowledge about causation . Talking about the notion of freedom and determinism, the a priori principle is understood as antecedent conditions which are recognized by some philosophers as independent of experience. It can be named determinism.
Actually, there are some points concerning the idea of efficient causation that we need to consider. Firstly, no conception of causation can possibly work unless it includes the idea of a certain kind of necessary connection between cause and effect, and the idea of efficacy or power of a cause to produce its effect. Then, there is in the contemporary analyses of causation no basis whatsoever for affirming the temporal priority of causes to their effects apart from appealing to certain conventions of language which are not sufficient basis for affirming such priority. Finally, even making use of such ideas as necessitation and power, no one can say what causation is without involving himself in circularity or redundancy.
Let’s analyze those points mentioned above. In most statements expressive of causal relations, there are certain objects or substances referred as causes such as a brick caused that window to break, a nail punctured that tire, the cigarette caused the fire etc. In fact, these are changes of things from one state to another state by some agents. So the cause-and-effect relationship is a relationship between changed of state and it is only a relationship between the substances themselves to which those states belong.
Now we tackle the second point: what is the relationship between changes or states of substances such that some can be described as the causes, or the effects of others? It is about the necessity of effects by their causes. Taylor does not fall into the dispute between many partisans of metaphysic and their opponents. The real question is not how do we know there is a causal connection but assuming that A was the cause of B, what does it mean to say that? Taylor says firmly that the letters ‘A’, ‘B’ etc. are just names for some events or changes that actually occur at some time or place. So we pay attention to analyze sentences like: The striking of that match caused...

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