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Brunet, T. (2021). Local causation.. Synthese, 199 (3-4), 10885-10908. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-021-03272-8
Funder: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000155
Funder: Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100003343
The counterfactual and regularity theories are universal accounts of causation. I argue that these should be generalized to produce local accounts of causation. A hallmark of universal accounts of causation is the assumption that apparent variation in causation between locations must be explained by differences in background causal conditions, by features of the causal-nexus or causing-complex. The local account of causation presented here rejects this assumption, allowing for genuine variation in causation to be explained by differences in location. I argue that local accounts of causation are plausible, and have pragmatic, empirical and theoretical advantages over universal accounts. I then report on the use of presheaves as models of local causation. The use of presheaves as models of local variation has precedents in algebraic geometry, category theory and physics; they are here used as models of local causal variation. The paper presents this idea as stemming from an approach using presheaves as models of local truth. Finally, I argue that a proper balance between universal and local causation can be assuaged by moving from presheaves to fully-fledged sheaf models.
Causation, Counterfactuals, Locality, Regularities, Sheaf models
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), doctoral fellowship. Cambridge European and International Trust, doctoral fellowship.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-021-03272-8
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/331907
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