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Efficient CausationA History$
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Tad M. Schmaltz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199782185

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199782185.001.0001

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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: 22 January 2022

Introduction to Efficient Causation

Introduction to Efficient Causation

(p.2) (p.3) Introduction to Efficient Causation
Efficient Causation

Tad M. Schmaltz

Oxford University Press

This introduction begins with a consideration of the assumption—central to the Oxford Philosophical Concepts series—that it is possible to write a history of philosophical concepts that crosses different historical periods and social contexts. One objection to such an assumption is that there are no timeless concepts, but only conceptions of efficient causation from different historical periods that are “incommensurable” (to use a term Thomas Kuhn has made famous). One response is that a history of a concept may have as its object not a timeless and immutable unit, but rather something akin to a biological “population” that consists in a collection of different contextually dependent conceptions. It is then an empirical question whether particular conceptions are sufficiently interrelated to preclude total incommensurability. After a discussion of these issues, the introduction closes with a summary of the content of each of the eleven chapters and four “Reflections” in the volume.

Keywords:   concept, context, efficient causation, history, incommensurability, Kuhn

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