Springer Science and Business Media LLC
MetadataShow full item record
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.
Original Research, Causation, Regularities, Counterfactuals, Locality, 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