Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Tool Use and Causal Cognition$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Teresa McCormack, Christoph Hoerl, and Stephen Butterfill

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199571154

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571154.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 October 2021

A Philosopher Looks at Tool Use and Causal Understanding

A Philosopher Looks at Tool Use and Causal Understanding

(p.18) 2 A Philosopher Looks at Tool Use and Causal Understanding
Tool Use and Causal Cognition

James Woodward

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a kind of typology of different sorts of abilities that might be associated with the notion of causal understanding, the acquisition of causal beliefs, causally informed action patterns, and so on. It asks how these various abilities relate to one another, whether some may play a role in the acquisition of others, and so on. Drawing on relevant philosophical literature, it shows that different philosophical accounts of causation track, at least to some degree, different and dissociable competences that go together to make up adult causal understanding. The chapter is organized as follows. It begins with a sketch of competing philosophical accounts of causation, emphasizing the difference between claims about causal relationships as these exist in the world and claims about the way in which we and other animals represent causal relationships. It then explores the contrast between two different families of approaches to (or ways of thinking about) causation, one of which is called ‘difference-making’ and the other ‘geometrical-mechanical’. The remainder of the chapter discusses elements that seem relevant to whether there is adult human-like causal cognition.

Keywords:   tool use, causal learning, causal cognition, causation, difference-making, geometrical-mechanical

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .