The Logic Forum Discussion Area

Start a New Topic 
View Entire Thread
Re: Logic of Causation

Hi Avi,

Regarding your book The Logic of Causation, I admit I have only skimmed it but since you appear to be an Aristotelian in many ways (particularly as regards Logic) I was expecting to find something on Aristotle's four causes, but didn't. Is this because they aren't very amenable to formal treatment? Personally, being something of an Aristotelian myself, I often find them a useful tool for thinking generally.

All the best,

Re: Logic of Causation

Hi Hank,
I have some comments on the four causes in an appendix to my book Volition and Allied Causal Concepts.
See here:
See also chapter 13 of that book, on final cause.

Something about you (optional) logic, philosophy

Re: Logic of Causation

Thanks Avi, some insightful comments there regarding the 4 causes.

I'm fascinated by causality because it's so ubiquitous in our thinking and yet seems to have been largely ignored by the "scientific" community as a subject worthy of serious study. Perhaps this is in part owing to David Hume's highly influential (but in my opinion, sophistical) writings on the subject.

This is particularly evident in statistics where we are told that "correlation is not causation", but it is never explained what causation actually IS. It's almost as though causality is a taboo subject; too "wooly" and metaphysical a concept for scientists, but ok for philosophers, perhaps.

However, things are beginning to change. I'm not sure whether you're aware of the work of Judea Pearl, an Israeli-American computer scientist who has developed a theory of causal and counterfactual inference, and for this and related work in Artificial Intelligence, received the Turing Award in 2011. He has recently published "The Book of Why : The New Science of Cause and Effect", which was written for a lay audience. Details here : (click on the "WHY" link at the top of the page, under the title). By the way, don't be put off by the fact that the theory is a mathematical one. The math is quite simple and most of the work is done by diagrams. The logic is much more important than the mere symbols.

I haven't yet read the book (it's on the way), and I'm not sure how much of his work parallels your "Logic of Causation", but I thought you might be interested in it.

Re: Logic of Causation

Thanks for the info. Sounds interesting. Will look into it.

Something about you (optional) logic, philosophy