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Beebee, Helen, , . Hume on Causation
2006, Routledge.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Hume on Causation is the first major work dedicated to Hume’s views on causation in over fifteen years, and it argues that Hume does not subscribe to any of the three views he is traditionally credited with. The first view is the ‘regularity view of causation’. The second is the view that the world appears to us as a world of unconnected events, and the third is inductive scepticism: the view that the ‘problem of induction’, the problem of providing a justification for inference from observed to unobserved regularities, is insoluble.It places Hume’s interest in causation within the context of his theory of the mind and his theory of causal reasoning, arguing that Hume’s conception of causation derives from his conception of the nature of the inference from causes to effects.

Comment: This book serves as an introduction to the topic of causation. Beebee covers all the major issues and debates in the topic. The books offers an overview that can help undergraduates to learn about the problem of causation and necessity connection. It could be useful as well for postgraduates who want to research Hume’s views.

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Cartwright, Nancy, , . Causal Laws and Effective Strategies
1979, Nous 13(4): 419-437.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by: Daniel Kokotajlo

Summary: Argues for the irreducibility of causal laws to laws of association, probabilistic or deterministic. Statistical or probabilistic analyses of causality, which typically require that the cause increase or alter the probability of the effect, cannot succeed because causes increase the probability of their effects only in situations that exhibit causal homogeneity with respect to that effect (Simpson’s paradox). This condition must enter the definition of an effective strategy, which is why causal laws are ineliminable for scientifically grounded interventions in nature.

Comment: I would recommend this as a further reading for a unit on causation and the laws of nature. It would be especially useful if situated within a metaphysics course where students have already come across general reductive accounts – e.g. reductive accounts of modality.

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Jorati, Julia, , . Leibniz on Causation, Part 1
2015, Philosophy Compass 10 (6):389-397
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Julia Jorati

Abstract: Leibniz holds that created substances do not causally interact with each other but that there is causal activity within each such creature. Every created substance constantly changes internally, and each of these changes is caused by the substance itself or by its prior states. Leibniz describes this kind of intra-substance causation both in terms of final causation and in terms of efficient causation. How exactly this works, however, is highly controversial. I will identify what I take to be the major interpretive issues surrounding Leibniz’s views on causation and examine several influential interpretations of these views. In ‘Leibniz on Causation – Part 2’ I will then take a closer look at final causation.

Comment: Can be used for a survey of early modern philosophy or for a more advanced class on the history of theories of causation.

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Jorati, Julia, , . Leibniz on Causation, Part 2
2015, Philosophy Compass 10 (6):398-405
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Julia Jorati

Abstract: Leibniz is almost unique among early modern philosophers in giving final causation a central place in his metaphysical system. All changes in created substances, according to Leibniz, have final causes, that is, occur for the sake of some end. There is, however, no consensus among commentators about the details of Leibniz’s views on final causation. The least perfect types of changes that created substances undergo are especially puzzling because those changes seem radically different from paradigmatic instances of final causation. Building on my more general discussion of efficient and final causation in ‘Leibniz on Causation – Part 1,’ I will examine and assess some of the rival interpretations of Leibniz’s account of final causation.

Comment: Can be used for a survey course on early modern philosophy or for a more specialized course on the history of causation.

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Sartorio, Carolina, , . Causation and Free Will
2016, Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by: Jingbo Hu

Publisher’s Note: Carolina Sartorio argues that only the actual causes of our behaviour matter to our freedom. The key, she claims, lies in a correct understanding of the role played by causation in a view of that kind. Causation has some important features that make it a responsibility-grounding relation, and this contributes to the success of the view. Also, when agents act freely, the actual causes are richer than they appear to be at first sight; in particular, they reflect the agents’ sensitivity to reasons, where this includes both the existence of actual reasons and the absence of other reasons. So acting freely requires more causes and quite complex causes, as opposed to fewer causes and simpler causes, and is compatible with those causes being deterministic. The book connects two different debates, the one on causation and the one on the problem of free will, in new and illuminating ways.

Comment: This book provides an interesting compatibilist theory for free will and moral responsibility. Chapter One can be used as an introductory material about the Frankfurt-style cases as well as the motivations for compatibilism. Chapter Four can be used as an auxiliary reading for Fischer and Ravizza’s reasons-responsiveness theory for it points out some problem of their theory and provides an alternative proposal.

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