Start your review of Causality and Determination: An Inaugural Lecture Write a review Shelves: academic , british , science , philosophy Im writing an essay on Anscombe for my course on theoretical philosophy; I figured Id read her inaugural lecture on Causality and Determination, to give me a better understanding of her thoughts on the notion of causality. Anscombe peruses some of the conceptions of causality that have gone before her. For Aristotle, when the agent and patient meet suitably to their powers, themone acts and the other is acted on of necessity. So did Kant. Later accounts, following Mill, focused on necessary and sufficient conditions.
|Published (Last):||27 April 2012|
|PDF File Size:||7.83 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||15.56 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
In Part I of the paper Miss Anscombe attacks the notion that causality must involve necessity and argues to the contrary that the central element in the notion of causality is the derivativeness of the effect from the cause; any necessity or universality is a further element and may be entirely absent.
In the second part of the paper she argues that it is not mere ignorance of full causes that warrants the separation of causality from necessity, universality, and determinism. I will just make a few comments.
Part I: 1. The first reply is that we observe causal efficacy if we are able, as we are, to use a wide range of causal terms and related natural kind terms correctly in perceptual situations. The idea of causality is an abstraction from countless active and passive verbs and natural kind terms and could not be introduced if we did not already have a large number of such words in our active vocabulary. This is not to say that we have infallible knowledge in any such cases, but that is surely not required.
Second reply to "causality is not observable" objection: The second reply is that we cannot in any case formulate the universal generalizations which, according to Humeans, are supposed to supply an account of what could not be observed in singular instances.
We have already raised this concern in our discussion of Mackie. These are not generalizations which tell us what always happens; rather, they tell us what to expect in the absence of interfering causes--and even here we must adjust for indeterministic causes. Part II: 1. Causality, Predetermination, and Universal Determinism The second part of the paper is a bit more recondite. Miss Anscombe first tries to help us see the difference between causality and predetermination.
Her claim is that in the absence of a "system" that entails the predetermination of a given effect, we have no antecedent reason to believe that an effect is predetermined by its causes--but this, of course, is no reason to believe that the effect in question is not caused. Also, Anscombe points out that someone--say, a physicist--might believe in the predetermination of each effect while not believing that the whole state of the universe at a given time is predetermined by its state at some previous time.
The reason is, as she puts it, that such a physicist "may not think that the idea of a total state of the universe at a time is one he can do anything with.
He may even have no views on the uniqueness of possible results for whatever may be going on in any arbitrary volume of space" p. Indeed, his belief concerning the singular effect is not that nothing could prevent or could have prevented the effect, but rather that a good scientific theory "should be such that only this result was possible as the result of the experiment.
However, the non-determinist she has in mind "restricts his demand for uniqueness of result to situations in which he has got certain processes going in isolation from inconstant external influences, or where they do not matter, as the weather on a planet does not matter for predicting its course around the sun.
Necessitating and non-necessitating causes: The distinction she draws here dovetails nicely with my own account of natural necessity: A necessitating cause C of a given kind of effect E is such that it is not possible on the occasion that C should occur and should not cause an E, given that there is nothing that prevents an E from occurring. A non-necessitating cause is one that can fail of its effect without the intervention of anything to frustrate it e.
Non-necessitating causes and free choice: One question is this: Are choices, as non-necessitated effects, thereby "accidental" or "random"? No, since indeterminism is only a necessary and not a sufficient condition for free choice, which involves acting "according to an idea.
The second, and more pertinent question, is this: Does the will, in acting on physical bodies, have to violate the laws of nature governing those bodies in order to exercise free choice?
In particular, the laws governing the physical correlates of free choice are such that they allow us to "predict statistics of events when situations are repeated," and so a free choice may make its physical correlate occur in the wrong proportion: "The other objection is, I think, more to the point. Certainly if we have a statistical law, but undetermined individual events, and then enough of these are supposed to be purshed by will in one direction to falsify the statistical law, we have again a supposition that puts will into conflict with natural laws.
But it is not at all clear that the same train of minute physical events should have to be the regular correlate of the same action; in fact, that suggestion looks immensely implausible. It is, however, required by the objection" p. Connectionism is relevant here. So there is no antecedent reason to think that acts of will are incompatible with the statistical laws governing such physical correlates. This is the point of the Coca-Cola example--something with the same intentional content is correlated with widely varying physical states: "It is not at all clear that those statistical laws concerning the random motion of the particles and their formation of small unit patches of color would have to be supposed violated by the operation of a cause for this phenomenon which did not derive it from the statistical laws" p.
Look at second last paragraph on p.
Causality and Determination
Secondary Works 1. When they returned to Britain he was a schoolteacher, teaching science at Dulwich College in London. Anscombe herself went to Sydenham High School, graduating in While there she became interested in Catholicism and converted while still a teenager. She studied classics and philosophy at St. Later that year she married the philosopher Peter Geach, whom she had met in her first year at Oxford after a mass at Blackfriars. They went on to have seven children.
ANSCOMBE CAUSALITY AND DETERMINATION PDF
Mim Like Wittgenstein, Anscombe was concerned about the culture around her. The only kind of mistake I can make in using it assuming that the list itself is correct is if I overlook or misread something on the list and thus fail to buy it. At the root of the principle is the distinction between intended and foreseen consequences of an action. She distinguishes between two kinds of sexual intercourse: Logic, Cause and Action: When mystical perception is not universal it is hard to use it as the basis for arguments over controversial subjects. So his list can be wrong in a way that mine cannot be. Get to Know Us.
G. E. M. Anscombe
In Part I of the paper Miss Anscombe attacks the notion that causality must involve necessity and argues to the contrary that the central element in the notion of causality is the derivativeness of the effect from the cause; any necessity or universality is a further element and may be entirely absent. In the second part of the paper she argues that it is not mere ignorance of full causes that warrants the separation of causality from necessity, universality, and determinism. I will just make a few comments. Part I: 1. The first reply is that we observe causal efficacy if we are able, as we are, to use a wide range of causal terms and related natural kind terms correctly in perceptual situations.