Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Fraassen, Bas
 
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Causes I 25
Principle of the Common Cause/P.C.C./Fraassen: eventually leads to postulating unobservable entities. - The principle of the common cause cannot be a general principle of science.
I 28
Common Cause/C.C./Fraassen: to say that C is the common cause for the correlation between A and B is to say that relative to C there is no such correlation. C explains the correlation, because we only notice a correlation for as long as we do not consider C. - FraassenVsReichenbach: the principle of the common cause does not rule the science of the 20th century, because it requires deterministic theories.
I 114
Cause/Explanation/Theory: Def Cause/Mackie: non-sufficient but necessary part of a non-necessary but sufficient condition. - FraassenVsMackie: Restriction: otherwise e.g. growth-plus-death-plus-decay may be the cause of death. - 1) Not every sufficient condition is a cause. - E.g. the existence of the knife is a necessary part. - 2) A cause must also not be necessary. - It may be that there are no previous sufficient conditions at all. - E.g. radium causes Geiger counter to click. - But atomic physics is compatible with that it does not click. - Cause/Solution/Lewis: Counterfactual Conditional: if A had not existed, B would not have exited. - Fraassen: but not literally. - Wrong: that a counterfactual conditional was the same as a necessary condition. - Solution/Fraassen: here, the "if/then" logic does not apply, because applies the law of attenuation there. - Everyday language: there is no attenuation here.

Fr I
B. van Fraassen
The Scientific Image Oxford 1980


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-03-27