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PHI 1101 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Cern, Higgs Boson, Formal And Material Principles Of Theology

Course Code
PHI 1101
Mark Brown
Study Guide

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PHI1101 – Final Notes
Chapter 6
A causal claim is an assertion about the cause of something.
A causal argument justifies, or supports, such a claim.
4 main interests in causal analysis
Explanation, pure curiosity
Assigning responsibility
Control (effects)
What is causation?
Hume formulated the basic analysis of casual relationship. “A causes B,” if these conditions are met
oIf A is continuous to B
oIf A is prior to B
oIf A and B are constantly conjoined (constant conjunction) or necessary connection
To claim a casual relationship between events A and B is to say: when A occurs, then B occurs
Casual Argument
Move from a premise that 2 things are associated or correlated to a conclusion that the first is not
merely correlated with, but causes the second
Ex. exposure to high levels of second-hand smoke is correlated with lung cancer
Thus, exposure to high levels of second-hand smoke causes lung cancer.
Note that: casual argument is a special case of inductive generalization
4 Causes (Aristotle)
Final: “the end, that for the sake of which a thing is done” eg. Creating a beautiful statute is the end or
goal of sculpturing
Efficient: “the primary source of the change or rest” eg. The art of bronze-carving the statue, the father
of the child
Material: “that out of which” something is made eg. The bronze of a statue
Formal: “the form” or “the account of what-it-is-to-be” eg. The shape of a statue
Meanings of Causation
Cause as necessary condition
oIf A is a necessary cause of B, then the presence of B implies the presence of A. however, the
presence of A does not imply that B will occur. (If B->A) (but not if A->B)
Cause as sufficient condition
oA causes B when we mean: whenever A occurs, B must also occur
oA sufficient condition is a condition that will produce the event. A necessary condition must be
there, but it alone does not provide sufficient cause for the event.
Cause both sufficient and necessary conditions
oIf A, → B; and if not-A, → not-B
Causal chains: we say that Y caused Z, but know that Y also had a cause, say X and that X in turn had a
cause and so on
oThus, the patient lost consciousness because he was given an anesthetic, but he received the
anesthetic because the valve on the container was opened and the gas flowed out. And there
was gas in the container because someone put it there, and so on.
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PHI1101 – Final Notes
Sometimes we simplify the causal chain by assuming that there is only 1 cause and 1 effect.
oEx. why did the towers of the World Trade Centre collapse?
Because someone crashed airplanes into them
Because the buildings were not designed to withstand airplane crashes
Contributing Factors as Causes
oTrigger factor or proximate cause
Sometimes everything is in place to produce a certain effect as soon as 1 further step is taken.
This last step is called a triggering factor and completes the causal chains.
Or we could say: It is the set of sufficient conditions producing the event.
oUnusual factor: often single out an unusual contributing factor as "the" cause of an event.
Example: The explosion happened because of the accumulation of methane gas in the room.
oControllable factor: single out things that are potentially under our control as causes.
Correlation & Causation
Positive correlation: presence of A makes the presence of B more likely
Negative correlation: presence of A makes the absence of B more probable
Correlation does not prove causation- A and B can be correlated because:
1. A causes B
2. B causes A
3. Some third thing C causes both A and B.
4. They occur together by pure chance.
John S Mill (1806–1873) devised methods for evaluating causal arguments.
1) Method of Agreement:
If 2+ occurrences of some phenomenon have only 1 relevant factor in common, that factor is likely the cause.
2. Method of Difference
Comparing situations in which an event of interest occurs with similar situations in which it does not. If the
presence of A is the only difference between 2 situations, A may be said to be probably “the cause” of the event.
3. Joint Method of Agreement and Difference
Method of agreement & method of difference are combined together.
We compare cases in which an event of interest occurs with ones in which it does not occur.
The cause of the event will be the only factor present in each case in which the event occurs and absent
in each case in which the event does not occur.
4. Method of Concomitant Variation
It involves varying a factor and determining whether a change in it is accompanied by variation in some
other factor that interest us.
When P increase in a population, Event E occurs more often.
When P decreases in a population, Event E occurs less often.
Chapter 7
1) Exact or Perfect Analogy(deductive):
Analogies as used in mathematics are usually exact or perfect, so that the conclusions of arguments by analogy
follow via valid reasoning. ex: 2 is to 3 as 4 is to 6
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