<history of philosophy, gnoseology, philosophy of science, epistemology> distinction between the events involved in a causal relationship, where the occurrence of one (the cause) is supposed to bring about or produce an occurrence of the other (the effect). Although the correct analysis of causation is a matter of great dispute, Hume offered a significant criticism of our inclination to infer a necessary connection from mere regularity, and Mill proposed a set of methods for recognizing the presence of causal relationships. Contemporary philosophers often suppose that a causal relationship is best expressed in the counterfactual statement that if the cause had not occured, then the effect would not have occured either. Recommended Reading: Judea Pearl, Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference (Cambridge, 2000); Wesley C. Salmon, Causality and Explanation (Oxford, 1997); Evan Fales, Causation and Universals (Routledge, 1990).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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