Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 43, 2008

Philosophy of Natural Sciences

Joonsung Kim
Pages 95-100

Against the Monolithic Way of Explicating Causation
The Insufficiency of the Mechanism Theory of Causation

Glennan (2002) argues for the mechanism theory of causation that it explicates both type-level and token-level causation in terms of mechanism. I argue against the mechanism theory that it is not sufficient for explicating cause-effect relations at the token-level. I put forth two counterexamples (first, absence of causes and second, a cause preempting another cause) to the theory, and show that descriptions of a mechanism are inert in explicating cause-effect relations at the token level. I point out that the problems with the mechanism theory are due to explicating cause-effect relation in monolithic ways.