This seminar will focus on contemporary discussions in analytic metaphysics concerning the nature of causation and counterfactual analysis of causation. We will consider a number of questions, including the following:
What is primary, causal relations or causal laws?
How are we to understand necessary and sufficient conditions of events?
What is the nature of an event?
Do causal relations exist between events or facts or states of affairs?
Can non-events be causes?
How are to understand pre-emption of events?
If we adopt a counterfactual analysis of causation, what are our further metaphysical commitments?
How are we to understand causation in a probabilistic universe?
We will be working through two anthologies that contain classic and recent treatments of these issues. It is the goal of this seminar to familiarize students with the range of positions regarding the nature of causation and to deepen their appreciation of the philosophical problems attendant to any attempt to understand causation, the cement of the universe.