Alternative Approaches to Causation: Beyond Difference-making and Mechanism

June 28, 2021 - June 29, 2021
Department of Philosophy and Centre for Reasoning, University of Kent

University of Kent
Canterbury CT2 7NZ
United Kingdom

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  • British Academy
  • Leverhulme Trust


Norwegian University Of Life Sciences
Cambridge University
London School of Economics
Harvard University
University of Amsterdam
University of Kent


Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

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Causality is one of the most controversial topics in philosophy. There is a wide range of standard accounts of causality, for example, the regularity account, the probabilistic account, the counterfactual account, the interventionist account, which are all classified as ‘difference-making’ accounts; and the mechanistic account. Pluralists (e.g. Cartwright, Hall, Reiss) maintain that there are multiple kinds of causality, whereas monists (e.g. Godfrey-Smith, Psillos, Williamson) argue that there is only one causal relation. Eliminativists (e.g. Russell) argue that science has no need of causation at all, while primitivists (e.g. Armstrong, Tooley, and Carroll) maintain that causation is unanalysable.  

Difference-making and mechanistic approaches have dominated recent philosophical discussion of causality. The aim of the conference is to explore and examine alternative approaches to causation. The approaches to be examined include but are not limited to causal pluralism, causal contextualism, causal primitivism, causal eliminativism, the projectivist approach, the dispositional approach, the epistemic approach, and the informational approach.   

**The conference is part of the BA/Levehulme-funded project "The Metaphysical Foundations of Evidential Pluralism" (2020-2022).

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June 18, 2021, 7:00pm BST

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