A fundamental problem of causation (with no solution)

Johannes Persson
Nils-Eric Sahlin

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Keywords: Ontology, Causation, Causal belief, Universals, Tropes, Ramsey.

: Traditional views of causation are cause-effect views. Among other things, what is claimed is that when a causal report is true, a cause and an effect exist. Similarly with theories of causal beliefs, such as Gärdenfors's (1988) view that - by looking at the contraction with respect to the cause of the given epistemic state - we can apply the simple criterion that the occurrence of C raises the probability of the occurrence of E. The cause and the effect has been at centre in much theorising about causation and causal beliefs.

In this paper we discuss a cluster of problems with the cause-effect view. These difficulties lead us to the position that there can be causation when there is neither cause nor effect, and further on to the conclusion that the cause-effect view is inadequate.

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Johannes Persson,

Nils-Eric Sahlin, nils-eric.sahlin@scoc.lu.se
Lund and Helsingborg

Spinning Ideas, Electronic Essays
Dedicated to Peter Gärdenfors on His Fiftieth Birthday