Causation and Its Basis in Fundamental Physics
This book is the first comprehensive attempt to solve what Hartry Field has called "the central problem in the metaphysics of causation": the problem of reconciling the need for causal notions in the special sciences with the limited role of causation in physics. If the world evolves fundamentally according to laws of physics, what place can be found for the causal regularities and principles identified by the special sciences? Douglas Kutach answers this question by invoking a novel distinction between fundamental and derivative reality and a complementary conception of reduction. He then constructs a framework that allows all causal regularities from the sciences to be rendered in terms of fundamental relations. By drawing on a methodology that focuses on explaining the results of specially crafted experiments, Kutach avoids the endless task of catering to pre-theoretical judgments about causal scenarios. This volume is a detailed case study that uses fundamental physics to elucidate causation, but technicalities are eschewed so that a wide range of philosophers can profit.
The book is packed with innovations: new models of events, probability, counterfactual dependence, influence, and determinism. These lead to surprising implications for topics like Newcomb's paradox, action at a distance, Simpson's paradox, and more. Kutach explores the special connection between causation and time, ultimately providing a never-before-presented explanation for the direction of causation. Along the way, readers will discover that events cause themselves, that low barometer readings do cause thunderstorms after all, and that we humans routinely affect the past more than we affect the future.