more from S.Mumford/R.Lill Anjum

Single Idea 14577

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation]

Full Idea

Causation is not always transitive. ...The fire started the sprinkler system and the sprinkler system put the fire out; would we want to say that, by transitivity, the fire caused the fire to be extinguished?

Gist of Idea

Causation may not be transitive. Does a fire cause itself to be extinguished by the sprinklers?


S.Mumford/R.Lill Anjum (Getting Causes from Powers [2011], 7.6)

Book Reference

Anjum,R.J./Mumford,S.: 'Getting Causes from Powers' [OUP 2011], p.171

A Reaction

There wouldn't have been an extinguishing of the fire if there had been no fire. But this is a very nice example, against the Millian view that causation consists of every event prior to the effect. The fire is, though, a precondition.

Related Idea

Idea 14547 The strict cause is the total positive and negative conditions which ensure the consequent [Mill]