Efficient Causation: A History

2015.03.04 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Tad M. Schmaltz (ed.), Efficient Causation: A History, Oxford University Press, 2014, 372pp., $35.00 (pbk), ISBN
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2015.03.04 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Tad M. Schmaltz (ed.), Efficient Causation: A History, Oxford University Press, 2014, 372pp., $35.00 (pbk), ISBN 9780199782178. Reviewed by John Grey, Michigan State University Philosophers are drawn to causation like moths. The reason seems to be that causation is one of the precious few relations fit to serve as explanation; in many domains, to understand a phenomenon just is to know its cause. How much better, then, to understand causation itself! The problem -- well, one problem -- is that there are so very many wildly disparate cases that are thought to be instances of causation. Here's where moth meets flame. An account of causation in general must, on the face of it, be able to handle all of the many kinds of causation. A pool ball strikes another, causing it to move; my failing to water the plant causes it to wilt; your willing to imagine an elephant... Read More

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