Getting Causes from Powers
Causation is everywhere in the world: it features in every science and technology. But how much do we truly understand it? Do we know what it means to say that one thing is a cause of another and do we understand what in the world drives causation? Getting Causes from Powers develops a new and original theory of causation based on an ontology of real powers or dispositions. Others have already suggested that this ought to be possible, but no one has yet performed the detailed work. Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum argue here that the completed theory will not look exactly as anyone has yet anticipated, and that a thoroughly dispositional theory of causation has some surprising features, for instance with respect to modality. The book is not restricted to the metaphysics of causation, but treats a variety of topics such as explanation, perception, modelling, the logic of causal claims, transitivity, and nonlinearity, and the empirical credentials of the theory are tested with reference to biology.