CAUSALITY OR CAUSATION -- THE FUNDAMENTAL FACT PLAINLY EXPLAINED by Ted Honderich -- Determinism and Freedom Philosophy Website -- This is an account of the fundamental connection between an effect, say the windshield wipers starting to work in this Citroen car, and what precedes it. What precedes it, fundamentally, is a causal circumstance or causally sufficient condition. This includes a number of conditions, one of them usually called the cause of the effect, say flipping the switch. The account below of the fundamental lawlike or 'whatever-else' connection between a causal circumstance and its effect is the third section of a chapter of a book, the first two sections being about what causes and conditions are -- individual properties -- and about four unfundamental connections between the effect and the cause and other conditions. One of the unfundamental connections is that if the cause hadn't happened, the effect wouldn't have happened either -- the cause was required for the effect. The account below rejects Hume's temptingly simple idea of the fifth connection, between causal circumstance and effect, that it is just that all things like the first are followed by things like the second. It also looks directly at the subject-matter rather than approach it by way of some enthusiasm or specialism, as some philosophers are inclined to to. You need to concentrate to get the message, but there is no mystery in it. 1.3  'IF A, EVEN IF X, THEN STILL B' The fifth connection is different. To approach it informally, suppose that we spend time and arrive at a thorough understanding of the ordinary operation of this Citroen's windscreen wipers. We come to believe that whenever ten specified types of conditions obtain, including a flipping of the switch, there is the effect of the wipers' starting to work. What do we believe if on a certain occasion we have taken it that there exist conditions of exactly the ten types, including a flipping, but the wipers do not start? We may suppose that we are mistaken on this occasion in taking it that all the ten types of conditions do obtain. We may suppose, differently, that our prior thorough understanding of the ordinary operation of the wipers was not thorough enough. That is, there is an additional type of condition which obtains when the wipers start—not ten in all but eleven. More likely, we may suppose that we have not arrived at an exact specification of one or more of the ten. What is needed is not exactly a particular type of condition specified before the present occasion, but a slightly different one, which did indeed obtain previously when the wipers started. What is common to these and related responses is that if we take the starting of the wipers to be an effect we believe at least that there is some type of circumstance which is uniformly connected with the wipers' starting. Whenever a circumstance of this kind exists, there also occurs a starting-to-work of the wipers. Certainly we do take any standard effect to be an instance of such a uniform connection. However, is this all that there is in the world, along these lines, to the connections between an effect and its causal circumstance? Hume gave one of philosophy's most famous answers, an answer whose strength is owed to its great clarity and simplicity, when he said yes. (1888 (1739), pp. 73 ff.) To give the answer is to refuse to go far beyond what we already have, or have as implied, in connection (4). If the answer leads very naturally to the truth, it is nevertheless mistaken, as is shown by the philosophically familiar but evergreen fact that certain items constitute an instance of such a uniform connection or constant conjunction, but the second is not the effect of the first. Although each causal circumstance and effect, likewise, is an instance of such a uniform connection, that is not its unique nature. Consider a particular day and the night that follows. The example is of course that of Hume's early critic Thomas Reid (1969 (1788) ), and has many counterparts, some of them being members of runs of total coincidences. Let us have in mind, only slightly less imprecisely, a period of light in London and thereabouts, that one I now call yesterday, and a following period of darkness, last night. We could of course give precise spatio-temporal specifications. It seems that if any two things whatever satisfy the Humean requirement, yesterday and last night do—all days are followed by nights. But yesterday and last night, however they are related, are not related as causal circumstance and effect. Yesterday did not cause last night. More must be true of any different pair of things which in fact are causal circumstance and effect. There have been many attempts to save the Humean account, or some development of it. (Ayer, 1940, pp. 179 f.; Hempel and Oppen- heim, 1953, pp.337ff.; Nagel, 1979, pp.64f.,- Berofsky, 1971, pp. 203 f.; cf. Earman, 1986, Ch. 5; Honderich, 1991) They cannot but strike one as unsuccessful, partly because ad hoc. The Humean view has persisted, among all those disinclined to mystery in connection with causation, not because of these defences, but for want of a satisfactory alternative. The alternatives have for the most part consisted in elusive doctrines of 'natural necessity', causal 'power', 'agency' or some kind of 'logical connection' and in inexplicit declarations of the reality of causal necessitation. Now there are superior alternatives, not at all of the unsatisfactory kinds. One of them, to my mind, gives an unfanciful, clear, and true view of the relation between causal circumstance and effect. This alternative view, a member of a small family of related although differing views, follows on naturally enough from a consideration of Hume's. Why do we not take yesterday as the causal circumstance for last night? What do we take to be the difference between yesterday and last night, on the one hand, and, on the other, another instance of constant conjunction, the one comprising the true causal circumstance and last night? It is that we might, in other than merely a logical sense, have got yesterday but not last night. Certain other events or conditions might have occurred such that we got yesterday but not last night. One would have been the creation of a new light source, about as great as the sun. It is thus false that if certain other things had happened, although we got yesterday, we would still have got last night. Compare what we take to be the true causal circumstance for last night, which we may label the solar conditions. They included, roughly speaking, the earth's London face being away from the sun for a time, the absence of any light source like that of the sun, in the right place at the right time, and conditions having to do with the behaviour of light. It is not true that certain other events or conditions might have occurred such that we got the solar conditions but not last night. If or since we had the solar conditions, even if certain other things had happened, we would still have got last night. This is indeed what distinguishes causal circumstances and effects (and nomic correlates) from other instances of constant conjunction. This, if it needs to be made more precise, is what we need to concentrate on, as some others have before, although without coming to the conclusion we shall reach. (Mill, 1961 (1843), Bk. 3, Ch. 5, s. 6; Ayer, 1963, 1963a, pp. 231- 4; Goodman, 1954; Hospers, 1956; Downing, 1958-9, 1959, 1970; Honderich, 1981b, pp. 421 f., 1982a, pp. 302-3) Let us take the variable x to cover or range over certain conceivable events or conditions or whatever—in fact individual properties or sets of them—which in fact did not occur. They are, we can as well say, certain conceivable changes in the universe, ways in which the universe might have been different. Let us contemplate, first, that they include all such changes save for the absence of cc or of e. They include all such changes save for logical excluders of cc or e. We can now contemplate that the relevant cc-e connection, when we suppose that cc caused e, can be stated in this way: If cc occurred, then even if x had occurred, e would still have occurred. That is on the right lines, of course, since certainly we do not suppose that e would have occurred even if either cc or e itself did not. However, it will not do. We regularly take it that a causal circumstance is linked by way of a causal chain or sequence to its effect. Without attempting a characterization of such sequences, let us suppose that a link k occurred in a causal sequence connecting cc with e. Clearly we do not believe that since cc occurred, e would still have as it did, even if k had been missing. We need to restrict x a bit more in order to express what we want. What we come to is this. If cc was a causal circumstance for e, then (5) If cc occurred, then even if there also occurred any change x logically consistent with cc and e, it was never the less the case that e occurred—or, cc began and e ended a sequence of things such that it was true of each one and its immediate successor that if the first occurred, even if there also occurred any change x logically consistent with both, then the second also occurred. To speak differently, if e had not occurred, then even if there had also occurred any change x logically consistent with the absences of e and of cc, and consistent with the absences of links between cc and e, it would also have been the case that cc did not occur. This fifth causal relation, like several to come, is stated by what we can call independent nomic conditional statements, or simply inde- pendent conditionals. Their truth, in brief, is independent of what else is true. Expressed one way, as we generally shall, they are of the form If a occurred, then even if any events or conditions logically consistent with a and b had also occurred, in place of those which did, b would still have occurred. Or, as we can as well say, Even if any events or conditions logically consistent with a and b had occurred, rather than those which did, if a occurred then b did. Or again, independent nomic conditionals come to this: Given the rest of the world as it was, or given that it was different in any way we can conceive it as being, without logically excluding a and b, then if a happened so did b. Independent conditional statements are thus different in kind from those dependent nomic conditional statements or simply dependent conditionals, which state the first four of our causal relations. Dependent nomic conditionals are certain of the statements of the form If a occurred, then b occurred. Their truth, in brief, is dependent on what else is true. By way of abbreviation of what is stated by the independent conditionals in (5), cc can be said to have necessitated e, and e can be said to have been necessary to cc. We can also, in abbreviation, speak of an event as necessitated without identifying or indeed knowing its causal circumstance. Here a necessitated event is of course to be understood as an event which does stand in the given relation to some or other antecedent. Like remarks might have been made elsewhere— with respect to a required event, for example. What we have in (5) might be improved in a number of ways so as to deal with questions and indeed objections, and thereby complicated and indeed greatly complicated. In particular the contrapositive formulation might be considered further. What we have, further, might be expressed in several different logical notations. We might consider problems (e.g. Wiggins, 1973) and proposed solutions (e.g. Thorp, 1980, pp. 16-26) which arise in connection with notations. What we have will suffice as it stands. It does indeed distinguish yesterday and last night from the other instance of constant conjunction, the solar conditions and last night The solar conditions but not yesterday count as causal circumstance for last mght. There is no peculiarity, incidentally, about this particular very grand causal circumstance and effect. Reflection on smaller examples of causal circumstance and effect, such as those with which we began, is quite as capable of illustrating this fifth causal connection. The given connection between causal circumstance and effect is in factthe principal instance of what can be called fundamental nomic connection  or fundamental necessary connection. Such connection is what is stated by independent nomic conditionals and, of course, holds between any two things when it is true that if or since the first occurred then even if any change logically consistent with either had also occurred, the second would still have occurred. Fundamental nomic connection, as will be made clearer, is just that -- fundamental. It is the stuff of or the basis of all the relations specified so far or still to be specified between cause and effect, causal circumstance and effect. There are two more causal connections to be noted. As we saw earlier (2) an ordinary causal circumstance is required for its effect. If, say, the ten conditions including the flipping of the switch had not occurred or existed, the wipers would not have started.This is a truth dependent on the situation as it was -- there was no ad hoc Metrical circuit and so on. There are related connections, however, which have independence of (5) the connection just noted. One is bound with the fact that we do indeed suppose that there is some set of types of circumstances, each type related in the same way to startings-to- work of the wipers. We believe that if the wipers did start, even if certain changes had taken place in the situation there would have occurred an instance of one or another member of this set of types ot circumstances. Either the switch was flipped and other conditions existed or an ad hoc electrical circuit was completed and other conditions existed, or. ... More generally, suppose again that cc was a causal circumstance for e. Suppose also that any one of cc or cc' or cc'' or..., if it existed, would also have been a causal circumstance for e and, we mig^add, would not have been part of a causal sequence including cc. Then (6) If none of cc or cc' or cc" or... existed, even if there occurred any change x consistent with that and with e's absence, . would still not have happened. If e happened, at least one of cc or cc or cc or existed, even if there also occurred any change x consistent with both. By way of abbreviation, one or another of a set of possible circumstances was necessary to e, and e necessitated the occurrence of one or another of the set. Our last relation follows on from this. In terms of the example it has to do with the fact that if in the situation there existed only the one circumstance for the starting of the wipers, then, even if certain other events or conditions had occurred or existed, the wipers would not have started. More generally, if cc was a causal circumstance for e, and with the other terms defined as with (5), we have this: (7) If none of cc' or cc" or... existed, then if cc had not existed, even if any change x had occurred logically consistent with that and with e's absence, e would not have happened. If none of cc' or cc" or... existed, then if e happened, cc would still have existed even if any change x had occurred consistent with e and cc. By way of abbreviation, for what it is worth, we can say that cc was dependently necessary to e, that e was such as to dependently necessitate cc. Our principal conclusion about causation is now at least in distant view. Causation and other nomicity consists in no less than, and not greatly more than, a web of connections between things or events, at bottom individual properties. What are these connections? They are . those asserted by the two kinds of conditional statements. Causation is not, as some suppose, anything less than these connections—which conclusion will be defended in what follows. Nor is it greatly more. There is thus a clear and plain answer, if one which requires complication, to the question of what causation and other nomicity comes to. The web may be open to other styles of description. Any of these must give it as having a certain structure. Each of the connections stated by independent nomic conditionals gives rise to others. For example, suppose cc necessitated e, e thus being necessary to cc, and that cc consisted in c and c'. It follows that if e had not occurred, and c' had occurred, then c did not occur. We shall not pursue these matters further here, but they will be noticed again in connection with the nature of conditional statements and the subject of causation and science. (1.4, 1.6) It is worth emphasizing what has already been said or implied, that all seven of the connections at which we have looked, and the further subordinate ones at which we shall not look, are indeed objective connections, connections in reality. They are entirely independent of minds, theory, conceptual schemes, the statements which state them, and so on. There are philosophers, some of them inclined to Kant's doctrine that we impose the category of causation on reality, some of them freer spirits, who think or at any rate say differently of causation and of nomic connection generally—in a phrase, that it is part of the mental order. One of these philosophers presses on forward, with agreeable audacity, to characterize the view I have expounded as Idealist or even Scholastic. (Putnam, 1983) That is, the view expoun- ded is seen as one which 'mentalizes' the natural world by intruding the mental order—nomic or necessary connection—into it. The view, on the contrary, is precisely one of Causal Realism rather than Causal Idealism. (Kim, 1981) It is exactly unlike any theory which does somehow locate nomic connection in the mental order, whether or not it then relocates it elsewhere, and thus is properly labelled Idealist. The point stands in connection with another. Those familiar with philosophical writing on causation, or touching on causation,, will have noticed that our analysis so far of it has taken the terms 'necessary connection', 'nomic connection', and 'lawlike connection' as synonymous, but has made little reference to laws. The analysis may appear to be unlike those which, to speak quickly and only of one central matter, describe something like a causal circumstance and an effect as two items which fall under a law, and then proceed to attempt to give an account of what a law is—a true proposition of a certain character. (Hempel and Oppenheim, 1953; Hempel, 1965) These different analyses may appear to describe a connection in reality by way of what can be called our linguistic response to it, or the character of our belief about it. In fact, our analysis and these seemingly different analyses are basically alike. Both characterize connections in reality and both give an account of the character of our beliefs about them. It could not be otherwise. Our analysis, in a way more direct, specifies necessary connections, but in so doing does provide an account of the nature of laws. It does so by actually giving their form or structure. The most fundamental kind of them are independent nomic conditional statements, general rather than particular. Laws of the fundamental kind thus are general propositions to the effect that if something is the case, then no matter an alteration in certain logically consistent concomitants, something else is also the case. The alternative procedure, although its focus is different, is indeed basically alike, as it must be. Here, one starts with a connection in the world, and appears to describe it by way of our characterization of it, the character of our belief about it. To do the latter thing, however, if the procedure can have any hope of success, is to describe the connection in the world. If it were not to do this, it would be no more than the futility of changing or avoiding the subject. 1.4  THE ANALYSIS OF CONDITIONAL STATEMENTS What we mainly have in answer so far, about causes and causal circumstances, is that they stand in seven connections—the last three of which are also fundamental to what will be said of nomic correlates. All are connections stated by either dependent nomic conditionals or independent nomic conditionals. What we need now, to have a better grasp of these connections, is a better grasp of the two kinds of statements. To understand them more fully is to see more clearly what we believe about the real connections, connections in extra-linguistic reality. The subject of dependent nomic conditionals has for long been a disputed one, and part of larger disputed subjects, those of larger categories of 'if' statements and of 'if' statements generally. Dependent conditionals can initially be identified, as they have been here, as typified by the 'if statements we accept in connection with our standard causal beliefs—'If the switch hadn't been flipped, the wipers wouldn't have started', 'Since the switch was flipped, the wipers started', and the like. The idea, of course is not to elucidate dependent conditionals by relating them to causal statements and the like, but to do just the opposite. It will be convenient, by the way, to abbreviate the conditional 'If the switch was flipped, the wipers . started' not merely to 'If f occurred, then s occurred', as we have already, but to 'If F then S'. So too with all other conditionals: letters in lower case for events, conditions, and the like, the same letters in upper case for the statements that the event occurred or the condition existed. The custom will in fact be followed generally hereafter, with subjects other than that of conditionals. Dependent nomic conditionals are readily distinguished from a number of other sorts of 'if' statements. First, they are not logically or conceptually necessary, as is 'If she has children, she is somebody's mother.' That they are not such statements is in accord with the fact, rightly insisted upon by Hume, as already noted, that causes cannot be said to be in a certain logical connection with their effects: the fact that it is not contradictory, however mistaken it may be, to assert that a causal circumstance for an event existed but that the event did not occur. Dependent conditionals, secondly, are not to be identified with the 'material conditionals' of truth-functional logic, which rarely if ever turn up in ordinary language. The 'material conditional' is customarily written as something like P ] Q. It is only misleadingly expressed as If P then Q, as is now widely accepted. (Bradley and Swartz, 1983, pp. 226-9; Anderson and Belnap, 1962) The material conditional P ] Q is true solely in virtue of P and Q both being true, or both false, or P being false and Q being true. It is not true in virtue of any further relation between P and Q. It is false only when P is true and Q false, and false solely in virtue of those truth-values of its parts. Despite ingenious if strenuous attempts (Grice, 1975; Ayer, 1972) to present 'if' statements in general as being material conditionals at bottom, it is evident enough that our If F then S is not true solely in virtue of the antecedent and consequent being both true or both false, or false and true respectively. (Mackie, 1973a) Thirdly, dependent conditionals are unlike a very considerable and mixed assortment of 'if statements, (i) 'If she feels so strongly, she'll decide against it.' (ii) 'If he is reasonable and understands the facts, he'll send the letter.' (iii) 'If you want them, there are biscuits on the sideboard.' (iv) 'I could have if I chose to.' (v) 'If I'm awake the sun will rise and if I'm not awake the sun will rise.' (vi) 'Since you moved your arm that way, you waved.' (vii) 'The offer was made and accepted, so there's a contract.' (viii) 'If that was painted in the eighteenth century, I'm a Dutchman.' (ix) 'If you were Julius Caesar, you wouldn't be alive.' These are in various ways different, as reflection will show, and raise different questions. What is common to all of them and to others, as it is to the first two sorts of 'if statements, is that none states the kind of connection of one thing with another which is expressed by any dependent conditional. This general distinction, clear enough despite our not having an analytic account of it, is in part brought into sharper focus in a somewhat unexpected way. There is a difference, although an uncertain one, between some statements of the form If P then Q and others of the form If P, Q. (W. A. Davis, 1983a) Suppose that someone has unkindly disconnected the wiring between the switch and the wipers. It makes sense to say, and in a certain situation it will be true, that (1) if the switch is not flipped, the wipers will not start. One can say quite as truly in this way, of course, that (2) if the switch is flipped, the wipers will not start. (The case is then like (v) above.) But is it true that (3) if the switch is not flipped, then the wipers will not start? On the contrary, it seems false. This is so since this third statement asserts the existence of a connection between two things (no flipping and no starting), and ex hypothesi no such connection exists. The first statement, like the second, can naturally be taken as not asserting such a connection, and hence can be true. The third statement is a dependent nomic conditional, while the first, whatever else is to be said of it, is not. The point is instructive, but it would certainly be mistaken to suppose that all ordinary conditionals are of the form If P then Q and all other 'if statements of the form If P, Q. Dependent nomic conditionals can also be characterized in terms of their logical properties in a narrow sense. Let us notice two of these. The seven connections surveyed above (1.2, 1.3) were stated by both a conditional and its contrapositive. Dependent nomic conditionals, as can be anticipated, in fact have the logical feature that they do simply entail their contrapositives. If not-F then not-S entails If S then F, and the latter entails the former. If F then S entails If not-S then not-F, and here too the latter entails the former. That there is this mutual entailment with respect to the two members of each pair is, or is intimately connected with, the proposition that the two conditionals state the same fact of connection between two things in the world. The feature of entailing their contrapositives distinguishes dependent nomic conditionals from certain other 'if statements. Some of these are exemplified by (iii) and (iv) above. From 'If you want them, there are biscuits' it does not follow that if there are none, you don't want any, and from 'I could have if I chose to' it does not follow that if I didn't choose to do the thing, I wasn't able to do it. Dependent nomic conditionals also have the logical feature that they are transitive. That is, If P then Q and If Q then R, where these are such conditionals, entail If P then R. It has sometimes been said that certain other 'if statements are not transitive—for example, 'If J. Edgar Hoover had been born a Russian, he would have been a Communist', 'If he had been a Communist, he would have been a traitor', and 'If he had been bom a Russian, he would have been a traitor'. (Lewis, 1973, p. 33; Stalnaker, 1975, p. 173) It is said that this proves the failure of transitivity—the three statements are unexceptionable and the third does not follow from the first two. There is the objection, however, whatever else is to be said, that the third statement fails to follow from the first two only because of an ambiguity—and more precisely because the consequent of the first conditional is in fact not identical with the antecedent of the second. We do not actually have in this supposed counter-example to transitivity what we must have, state- ments of the forms If P then Q, If Q then R, and If P then R. (Mackie, 1980) Certainly, whatever is to be said of transitivity elsewhere, dependent nomic conditionals are transitive. They are thus perfectly suited to the analysis of our beliefs about causal chains or sequences. Certainly from the facts that r caused s, and s caused t, it follows that r caused t. Are dependent conditionals to be characterized more generally in terms of two categories to which philosophers have given much attention, those of subjunctive and counterf actual statements? This seems often to have been assumed. To have a new example, consider the statement that (A) since it is raining, the balcony is wet. It is an indicative conditional, a conditional in the indicative mood. Consider also the statement that (B) if it were raining, the balcony would be wet. It is subjunctive. Is only one of these, perhaps the second, a dependent conditional in the sense we have in mind? No, both statements, although they are different in mood, are such conditionals. (A) is part of what is stated by stating that rain is making the balcony wet, or causing the balcony to be wet. (B) is part of what is stated by stating that rain would make the balcony wet. The distinction between our dependent conditionals and others is thus not a difference between the indicative and the subjunctive mood. It is as clear that another difference between (A) and (B) is no more relevant. (B) is counterfactual: it implies the falsehood of its ante- cedent. (A), called by some a factual conditional, implies that its antecedent is true. The difference is not the distinction between the class of dependent nomic conditionals and other 'if statements. Both (A) and (B), to repeat, are dependent conditionals. So is what is sometimes called an open conditional: If it is raining, the balcony is wet. It carries no implication as to the truth or falsehood of its antecedent. Dependent conditionals have often not been distinguished by philosophers from one or another larger category of 'if statements. Partly because of this fact, dependent conditionals have been taken as problematic. The principal problem about them has generally been said to be that of their meaning or semantics. The problem is to define , the meaning of conditionals, to say what it means to say that if kangaroos had no tails they would topple over, to say exactly what conditionals mean. (Goodman, 1965, p. 17, p. 23, cf. p. 14; Ayer, 1972, pp. 120 f., cf. p 118; Lewis, 1973, p. 1; Mackie, 1973, p. 64) As a look at the philosophy of language and its analyses of 'meaning' or its uses of 'semantics' quickly shows, much more would need to be done to give us a well-defined problem, but let us not linger. The vague expression of it is sufficient for our purposes. Let us rather glance at two of what are presented as solutions to the problem, the metalinguistic and the possible-worlds proposals. By doing so we shall become clearer about the problems of nomic conditionals, and hence their solutions. We shall also avoid a doubt about what will be maintained here. The metalinguistic proposal (Goodman, 1965), so named because, at any rate in the first instance, it presents conditionals as being about other linguistic entities, is along the following lines. What is it to say that if [R} it is raining, then (W) the balcony is wet? Roughly, it is to say that the statement [R], and (C) true statements of certain conditions, and (L) a true lawlike statement, together entail the statement (W). The proposal, as is allowed by its proposer, faces serious problems, notably that of explaining the nature of a lawlike statement. It is nonetheless advanced as being on the right lines. The possible-worlds proposal can most easily be stated briefly in terms of a dependent conditional that is counterfactual. To say that it it were raining the balcony would be wet is to say this: among possible worlds where it is raining, the one which overall is most like our actual world is also one in which the balcony is wet. (Lewis, 1973; cf. Stalnaker, 1975) Or, to interpret the idea in a way less ontologically extravagant, a way which does not seem to commit us to a plurality of somehow existing worlds, what the conditional means is this: if our actual world were different in that it were raining, and differences overall were in a sense the smallest possible, the balcony would be wet One source of this theory, to continue in terms of the example, is the truth that if it were raining, more other things would be different than that the balcony was wet. For a start, there would be a cause of the rain and further effects of it—a wet garden and so on. This prevents us from supposing that the conditional in question, to speak in the ontologically extravagant way, comes to this: in the possible world where it is raining, but everything else is the same as in this world save that the balcony is wet, the balcony is indeed wet. What we must then do, it is supposed, is to turn our attention to a primitive idea of over-all similarity between possible worlds. This has to do both with what are called states of affairs, which we may take ultimately to be a matter of individual properties, and also what are called laws. To note a possibility to which we shall return in a moment, it is allowed that a possible world w' might be more like our actual world than a possible world w" even though the laws of our world are to some extent suspended or do not exist in w' and are intact A bit more will be said of particular features of the metalinguistic and possible-worlds proposals, but let us first consider something common to both of them and indeed to other proposals. All of these, to repeat although there is some uncertainty and inconsistency, are presented as answers to the question of the meaning or semantics of certain 'if statements, certainly including dependent nomic con- ditionals. To think about this even for a moment is to see that something is amiss. Does 'If it's raining the balcony is wet' mean, in however large a tolerable sense, something about other conditions-say the absence of a canopy over the balcony and so on? As was maintained earlier (1.2), surely not. The unsatisfactory conclusion that the conditional is about so much, or rather the unsatisfactory conclusion that the conditional is about a further statement about so much, follows from the metalinguistic view. At any rate there follows some such unsatisfac- tory conclusion pertaining to other conditions somehow described. Again, does 'If it were raining the balcony would be wet' mean something about other ways that the world would be different, over and above the balcony's being wet, if there were the difference that it was raining? Is the given conditional in part about a cause of rain, or the wet lawn? It is a remarkable idea, not made better by bravely labelling the conditional enthymematic. The unsatisfactory con- clusion, or a related one, follows from the possible-worlds view. The views are more plausible when taken as answers, or at any rate materials for answers, to a question quite different from the question of meaning. They are more plausible when taken as responses to a question about dependent conditionals which in fact has more claim to be regarded as the principal one. It can be called the logical problem, and briefly expressed it is this: in general, what are the premisses or grounds or bases for dependent conditionals? It is not the question of what in general we say when we assert such conditionals, or what they are about, but the question of what reasons we have for saying what we do. (This is the question that is fundamental with every sort of 'if statement.) It is our reasons for asserting a dependent conditional which bring in a good deal more than what is brought in by the conditional itself. That there was no canopy may be part of why I say that if it's raining the balcony is wet, but it is not part of what I say. The metalinguistic view remains in several ways odd and indeed unsuccessful when regarded in the more plausible way. It may be said to be on the right lines, but at best it provides materials for an answer to the logical question, materials which it does not combine properly. Further, so to speak, one of the materials is indeed inadequate. If we are seeking an explanation of the grounds of dependent conditionals, and one of these is given as a lawlike statement, we do indeed require an explanation of the nature of such a statement. As for the possible- worlds view, of which a great deal might be said, it too seems to involve an unanalysed notion of law, although the matter is more obscure here. Let us notice only a clear objection for which the way has been prepared. What we have as premiss for the dependent conditional that if it were raining the balcony would be wet is roughly this: in that possible world most like our own in which it is raining, the balcony is wet. But it is specifically allowed that that world might lack our laws, including a law which pertains to the rain and the wet balcony. In that world, to be brief, it could be an accident or mere coincidence that the rain was accompanied by the balcony's being wet. That could not be our reason for asserting the given conditional, whatever else is. (Cf. L. J. Cohen, 1980; Pollock, 1976; Swain, 1978.) Whatever the strengths and interests of possible-worlds conceptions in several inquiries, notably formal semantics, we do not here have an acceptable answer to our question. On what basis can we assert the dependent nomic conditional that if (R) it is raining, then (W) the balcony is wet? The short answer is that we assert it on the basis of two things, an independent nomic conditional, and (C) a belief about certain conditions, which is a belief that the antecedent of the independent conditional is in a certain part true. Again, we assert it since we accept (i) an independent nomic conditional roughly to the effect that in the world as it is, and within certain large limits as it might be, if it is raining and certain other things are the case, then the balcony is wet, and we also accept (ii) that those other things are the case. It follows that if it is raining then the balcony is wet. To be more explicit, it is simplest to take the particular formulation of the independent conditional just suggested, and anticipated earlier (1.3), in place of If R and C, even given any X consistent with R and C and W, then still W. That is, let us have this: Given the world as it is, or given any changes in it logically consistent with R and C and W, then if R and C then W. From these two things it follows—as from If A, then if B then C, and A, it follows that If B then C—that if R and C, then W. From this in turn, together with C, there follows the dependent conditional If R then W. To repeat, let us have the statement (Y) describing the actual events and conditions accompany- ing r and c in the world as it is, and the disjunctive statement (X) to the effect that the world is in one way or another otherwise, logically consistent with R and C, and W. Then our premisses and conclusion are as follows. ------------------------ If Y or X, then if R and C then W. Y. ------------------------ If R and C then W. C. ------------------------ If R then W. ------------------------ This answer to the logical question about dependent nomic con- ditionals is reassuringly persuasive. Certainly it involves no unex- plained notion of a lawlike statement. That is not to say that it involves no notion of a lawlike statement, or, to speak of reality rather than our language for it, no notion of lawlike connection. It is unthinkable that any arguable account of dependent conditionals could be without a notion of lawlike connection, and hence of law or lawlike statement. As can properly be said, the answer just given to the logical question rests essentially on an explained notion of lawlike connection. 'Lawlike connection' is simply another term for what was earlier (1.3) called fundamental nomic connection or fundamental necessary connection—and for connections related to it. Fundamental nomic connection is the connection stated by independent nomic conditional statements. To rest an answer to the logical question about dependent nomic conditionals on independent nomic conditionals is to answer the question in terms of explained or analysed lawlike connection. The plain answer also has other virtues (Honderich, 1982a), but they need not be sung here. As for the meaning of dependent conditionals, it is possible and perhaps necessary to say of them, as it is commonly said of 'if statements of various kinds, that they are to be taken as primitive, in the sense of not being open to analytical definition or reductive analysis. (Certainly one only gets something synonymous, at best, and no analysis, by rendering 'If P then Q' as 'On the assumption that P is true, so is Q' or 'In a possible world where P is true, so is Q'.) Dependent conditionals are thus to be regarded in the way of the primitive conception or conceptions at the base of any logical system. That is not to say, however, that their meaning cannot be character- ized. It has been here, in what has been said already. Their meaning is such that they are to be distinguished from various other 'if statements, that they have certain logical properties, and that they are entailed by independent nomic conditionals together with further premisses in a way derived from the antecedents of the latter conditionals. To turn now to independent nomic conditionals, they can be identified initially, as they have been, as typified by 'if statements we accept in connection with our beliefs as to causal circumstances and effects. They can, as we know, take the form illustrated by this 'if statement of our current example: If R and C, even if X, then still W. Their meaning is evidently quite other than that of dependent conditionals, since they are in part and in a way general. Each such conditional asserts, with respect to all events or conditions of a certain class, that the occurrence of any or any set of them, or indeed all of them, would none the less leave it true that if the conditional's antecedent is true, so too is its consequent. By antecedent, in terms of the example, I of course mean only R and C. In virtue of this fact of generality with respect to independent conditionals they are not tied to a particular situation, as are dependent conditionals. Their truth is not dependent on a particular situation. They can be expressed formally in several ways, making use of the resources and notations of different logical systems, but are perspicuously expressed in just the forms we have. We can, as with dependent conditionals, distinguish them from          • other 'if statements, specify their logical properties—including con- traposition and transitivity—and give their logical relations, notably their relations to dependent conditionals. On what is such an independent conditional as If R and C, even if X, still W based? The answer, in brief, is the method of empirical inquiry, at its best the method of science. There can be no doubt whatever about the validity of this method, and no doubt either that its description has been and remains a matter of controversy, or of several controversies. One of these, perhaps the most general and fundamen- tal, has to do with the problem of induction. What is the explanation of the rational justification we evidently have when we reason in certain ways from certain premisses to particular or general conclusions about the world? What is the explanation of why I am right to conclude, as I am, that if it is raining and certain other things are true, the balcony is wet—and, in brief, that it would be wet no matter what else were true? The explanation will include, certainly, past situations both like and unlike the present one—like, in that they included events and conditions of the same type as r and c; unlike, in that they included events and conditions of other types than those accompanying r and c. The explanation will also include what is related to this and is absolutely fundamental to scientific method, which is the experimen- tal procedure of testing and establishing connections by the 'varying of circumstances', which is essentially the discovery of what is relevant and what is irrelevant to a given event. (Mill, 1961 (1843), p. 249; Keynes, 1952, p. 393; Carnap, 1962, p. 230; Honderich, 1991?) To say this much of the method of empirical inquiry, above all the method of science, is of course to say little more than nothing. Anything like an adequate account of the method of empirical inquiry is out of the question here. One separate point is clear enough, however. It hardly needs remarking that the experimental procedure of varying the circumstances fits exactly the account of fundamental nomic connection which we have. It fits that account better than it fits others, including a probabilistic account of which a bit more will be said. (Skyrms, 1980, p. 16) That is a further if subsidiary argument for the account. One thing remains to be noticed. It is now clearer than before (1.3) how fundamental nomic connection, the connection stated by inde- pendent conditionals, is either the stuff or the basis of all the seven causal connections. It is the stuff, so to speak, of the last three—(5), (6), and (7). It is the basis of the first four—(l, la), (2, 2a), (3), and (4). It is the basis in the sense that each of the dependent conditionals rests on some independent conditional and a further premiss related to the antecedent of the independent conditional. Consider the dependent conditional (3) If c occurred, so did e. Consider also If cc occurred then, even if there also occurred any change x logically consistent with cc and e it was also the case that e occurred—which is the first part of the independent conditional in (5). Circumstance cc, we take it, consisted in c and also in c', c", ... As with the example lately considered, it is evident that (3) is entailed by the given part of (5) together with a statement of the occurrence of c', c'',... It would be rash to make the conclusions of this chapter depend absolutely on exactly the account of certain 'if' statements that has now been given or intimated. These statements, as already remarked make up a controverted subject. (Sanford, 1988) It is complete with competing predilections, schools, logics, methods, and terming logies—and indeed competing conceptions of the subject, by which I mean conceptions of just what 'if statements are properly treated together What I hope to have shown, which is consistent with a certain tentativeness about what has been said, and with incomplete^ ness is that we do have a grasp of both dependent and independent conditionals, which grasp can be clarified and which gives to us an explicit understanding of the seven causal connections that were set out It is not as if conditionals of the two sorts were near to being sufficiently problematic or obscure as to make it unprofitable to use them in elucidation of causes and effects, causal circumstances and effects, and—to look forward—nomic correlates. 1.5 CAUSAL VERSUS OTHER NOMIC CONNECTIONS We take causal circumstances and causes to have a nature lacked by effects This nature presumably explains the truth that if a is a causal circumstance or cause of b, then b cannot be such of a We ordinarily say of causal circumstances and causes that they make their effects happen, but we do not say, and will deny, that effects make either of the two causal items happen. The philosophical variations on this usage are many. The causal items are said to be active, to be productive, to be geneses, to have potency or efficacy. Some philos- ophical writings on causation consist in good part in a somewhat numinous insistence on the distinctive nature of the causal items as against their effects-causes, for example, are declared to be 'powerful particulars' or 'forceful objects at work'. (Harre and Madden 1975) We also say of causal circumstances and causes that they explain their effects, in a sense in which effects do not explain the causal items. Here, there is less possibility of philosophical variation, but this second characterization of the nature of the causal items is perhaps as important as the first. Finally, we take it that effects depend on the causal items, and that the latter do not in this way depend on the former. It is perhaps a good deal less than certain that this third characterization is conceptually distinct from the first two. I shall suppose it comes to much the same. In our inquiry into causation so far, we have not attended specifically to this fact of difference or asymmetry between causal items and their effects—the fact of causal priority as it is sometimes called. We do indeed have it that a causal circumstance necessitated its effect. But to assert that is by definition to assert no more than a certain independent conditional—roughly, that since the circum- stance existed, even if most other things had been different, the effect would still have occurred. We also have it that effects do no more than dependently necessitate their causal circumstances. That is to say, roughly, that if the effect occurred, and no other causal circumstance for it but one existed, that one would still have existed even if most other things had been different. It is not obvious, although it may be true, that the ideas that a causal circumstance made its effect happen, and explained it, and that the effect depended on the circumstance, somehow come to no more than these independent conditional claims. Philosophers have sometimes denied that the asymmetry between causal items and their effects is a matter of connections stated by 'if statements. These, they feel, are not enough. Certainly we cannot rest with the three ordinary ideas we have of the distinction between the causal items and their effects. The first idea is of a metaphorical and anthropomorphic kind, and the second and third also call out for analysis, if only for the reason that there are other non-causal pairs of things such that the first explains the second and the second depends on the first. The obvious example is that of the premiss and conclusion of a deductive argument. It is not that kind of explanation and dependence that is in question with causation. What kind it is needs to be explained. If we cannot rest with the ordinary ideas, we can no more rest with their philosophical variants. It is all very well to insist that causes have or are powers or whatever, but we need to know what is to be understood by that. They do not give commands and they are not premisses from which many or important conclusions follow. Nor does it seem likely that the idea of causal power is not open to analysis, or, what comes to much the same, that it is somehow to be acquired without noticeable effort by thinking on what is common to such verbs as 'push' and 'pull', as has sometimes been supposed. One persistent analytical account of causal priority does seize upon an indubitable truth, that causal items stand to their effects as our means to our ends, while no effect is our means to its cause or causal circumstance. When it is true that an effect—the wine bottle's being open—is my means, it is not such as an effect but as a cause of something else, which other thing is not a means to it. We do indeed manipulate and control our surroundings, in so far as we can, by way of things as causal rather than as effects. However, there is the immediate objection that not all causal items are the means of someone. No earthquake is, and in fact relatively few causal items in the natural world are such. The attempt has been made, inevitably, to extend the idea of a means to cover all causal items, (von Wright, 1971; Mellor, 1986) This stratagem is not reassuring, for several reasons, but there is a more fundamental objection which applies even to those causal items which really are our means. It is that the fact that a causal item is a means is not a fact about it, but a fact about us. The fact that a cause of the wine's being cool, say refrigeration, is my means—this is the fact that (i) I can bring about that cause, and (ii) it is a cause of what I desire. This thought, that the given cause of the wine's being cool is not in or of itself a means, is reinforced by the truth, among others, that the given cause is precisely not a means to my idiosyncratic drinking companion, who likes his Haut Poitou uncooled. But the asymmetry of causal items and their effects is, of their very nature, a fact about them, a fact which would persist in a world devoid of desires, and, as might be added, a world devoid of our capability of bringing things about. Is it possible to explain the asymmetry by way of a clear idea of power—or capacity, ability, or disposition? Well, we can give a certain clear sense to saying that the hot coffee is able or has a power to dissolve the cube of sugar. What it is in general for a thing a to have the power to produce b is for it to be true that an individual property or properties of a, together with other things, will constitute a causal circumstance for b. Anything that is a cause, then, is in this clear sense a power, a power to produce an effect. (Cf. Ayers, 1968.) There is a related secondary sense of the term 'power' and like terms, where the power is the class of differing individual properties or property-sets, each of which is nevertheless alike in entering into some causal circumstance for one effect. Or, better, a power of this kind is the class of types of such properties or property-sets. In this sense, hot coffee can be said to share a power to dissolve sugar with steam, certain chemicals, and so on. The secondary sense is clearly dependent on the primary. We need to reflect, however, on what has just been said: in brief, that for something to be or to have a power in the primary sense is for it to enter into a possible causal circumstance. Given our account of causal circumstances, that is fundamentally to say, in line with the independent conditional (5) set out in Section 1.3 and mentioned at the beginning of this section, that for a to have the power to produce b is for roughly this to be true: If A & C, even if X, still B—where C asserts the existence of other conditions or events. The difficulty is that a like conditional (derived from the independent conditional (6) also set out in 1.3) may well be true of b. That is, it will be true, if there is no other causal circumstance for b on hand, and no alternative for a, that If B & C, even if X, still A. To speak informally, in terms of the example, the hot coffee together with other things guaranteed dissolved sugar, but it may also be true that the dissolved sugar, together with (different) other things, guaranteed the hot coffee. The upshot of this is that in this sense of 'power'—as of many like terms—it is at least arguable not only that a cause has a power to produce its effect, but also that an effect has a power to produce its cause. Here we have no adequate difference between cause and effect. It is true, somehow, that a cause has a power in a sense that an effect does not, but we have not got that sense. There is the further grave difficulty about the idea in hand, as a little reflection will show, that in the given sense no causal circumstance, as distinct from cause, has the given power. Leaving aside several other good attempts to explain the difference between causes and causal circumstances and their effects, and also what can be said of great obstacles in the way of these attempts (Mackie, 1974, Ch. 7, 1979; Ayer, 1984a; Sanford, 1976, 1985; Papineau, 1985b; Honderich, 1986), let us return to and concentrate on our ordinary convictions about the difference. What do we have in mind in taking it that a causal circumstance makes an effect happen? A good answer is that we regard the causal circumstance as leaving no room for any other eventuality than the effect. The causal circumstance settles that but one of certain possibilities becomes actual. Most plainly, the causal circumstance fixes or secures the occurrence of just one thing, as distinct from fixing the occurrence of that thing or a second or a third or. ... What do we have in mind in taking a causal circumstance to explain an effect in the given sense? There are the same good answers. It is for the circumstance to leave room but for one eventuality, for it to settle things. It is not for the circumstance to give rise to something or other, but for it to give rise to just the effect. These several glosses of the characterization of a causal circum- stance as making its effect happen and explaining it, glosses which are surely very natural, lead us to a firm conclusion, one that may be anticipated. If it is not obvious, as remarked before, it surely is true that the nature of causal circumstances and causes, as against effects, is, at least in good part, explained by what we have already—it is explained in good part by the fact that causal circumstances necessi- tate effects, and effects merely necessitate one causal circumstance or another. That is, to simplify the independent conditional (5) a bit, a causal circumstance is such that if it happens, then just its effect does. But, to simplify (6), an effect is such that if it happens, then all that is true is that one or another of a set of causal circumstances has existed. The clear distinction made by these two conditionals gives a clear sense to talk, mainly by philosophers, of causal circumstances having a power lacked by effects, and so on. To revert to what is fundamental, the distinction made by the two conditionals gives some clear sense to our saying that causal circumstances explain effects, and make them happen, and not the other way on. More needs to be said about our conviction, but here we have something. We have in a causal circumstance by itself a complete answer to the question of why an effect occurred. We do not have, in just an effect, such an answer to the question of why a causal circumstance occurred. That we do not have such an answer, it can be argued, is the fact that what follows, from the occurrence of the effect, is only that that circumstance or another occurred. I have latterly been speaking only of causal circumstances, and not causes. What has been said can be extended to them. That is, in brief, it is reasonable to suppose that their nature, as distinct from that of effects, is to be explained by their membership of causal circum- stances. What has been said, however, seems not enough. It is, I think, one of two parts of an adequate account of causal asymmetry. The additional part, which does not have to do with the connections stated by independent conditionals, is perhaps particularly necessary in connection with our conviction about the explanatoriness of the causal items. Both that conviction, and the conviction that the causal items make their effects happen, can also be glossed as convictions that the causal items bring into existence their effects. Given this, it is impossible to avoid the idea that another part of the difference between the causal items and their effects is that the causal items exist at a time when their effects do not. They exist before their effects. If all causal circumstances and causes precede their effects in time, it seems we have in that temporal consideration a second basis for the asymmetry we are considering. Do all of what we take to be causal circumstances and causes precede their effects? Here there is a large philosophical dispute, and we shall be told by some that the answer is no. Is there not a causal circumstance, including the weight of the driver, for that simultaneous effect which is the flattening of the seat cushion? One thing that can be said in opposition to the simultaneity idea is that if we persist in thinking precisely of causation, of one thing causing another, as distinct from any related kind of connection, we are inclined to try to substitute successions for simultaneities. We are inclined to think of connections between earlier and later events rather than connections between simultaneous events. The flattening of the seat cushion at this instant is owed to the driver's weight at a prior instant. The last instant of the flattening of the cushion, we are inclined to think, will be simultaneous with the beginning of a causal circumstance for the cushion's being other than flattened. In this inclination to take the causal items as prior to their effects, incident- ally, we have the support of a good deal of science, indeed a strong scientific tradition, having to do with the principle of retarded action. (Bunge, 1959, p. 62f.) In our ordinary thinking about causation and time there evidently is uncertainty, as is not the case elsewhere. In some respects there seems not much room for argument about our conception of standard effects and their causal circumstances. There is surely no doubt that we take them to involve the necessity relations and the relations of required- ness. In connection with time, our conception is not settled. This fact is consonant, to say the least, with the long philosophical dispute about causation and time, including the idea that causes might not only be simultaneous with their effects but might come after their effects. (Dummett, 1954) If we are subject to uncertainty, there is room for decision, as distinct from discovery. The definition we shall adopt here, in the tradition of Hume and many others, is one that takes causal circumstances and hence causes to precede their effects in time. It allows us the conclusion that has just been contemplated: that the difference between causal items and their effects has its basis not only in the consideration that causal circumstances fix uniquely the occurrence of their effects, but also in the consideration that causal circumstances precede their effects. The definition is adopted, of course, not merely for the reason that it gives us a further explanation of the difference between causal items and their effects. It has an independent recommendation, although one that needs more argu- ment that has been supplied here. Given the account we have of the difference, we can now proceed quickly to a final characterization of a causal circumstance. We have everything in hand save one consideration, having to do with non- redundancy. The difference between causal circumstances and their effects, further, is what distinguishes causal circumstances and effects from other things also in nomic connection, which is to say nomic correlates. We can also proceed quickly to a characterization of these. We began with the idea that a causal circumstance consists in a set of conditions including a cause or causes—more precisely a set of individual properties—each being (1, la) required or alternatively required for the effect. From this it followed (2, 2a) that the circumstance too is required or alternatively required for the effect. Further (3) each condition requires the occurrence of the effect, and so too (4) does the circumstance as a whole. As for the fundamental necessity-relations, (5) the causal circumstance necessitates the effect, and hence the effect is necessary to the circumstance. (6) Also, the circumstance is one of a set of circumstances necessary to the effect. Further (7) the causal circumstance is dependently necessary to the effect, which is to say that the effect dependently necessitates the circumstance. We have it too (8) that the circumstance (whose constituents need not be simultaneous) is prior in time to the effect. It is in virtue of (5), (7), and (8) that we can truly say that the circumstance makes happen and explains the effect, and not the other way on. The property of a circumstance that (5) it necessitates its effect, although we did not pause to consider the matter, is in a way essential to a final element in a definition of a causal circumstance, more particularly a specification of what is included in such a circumstance. To return again to the beginning, a circumstance (1) consists of items required for the effect. That is not to say that a circumstance includes all such conditions of the effect. Which ones then? The answer is that (9) a causal circumstance is to be taken to include no more conditions than are needed to necessitate an effect. That is, it includes just a set of conditions such that if the set existed, so did the effect, and still would have even if certain other conditions or events had also existed. Nothing is redundant. To take a causal circumstance as having no redundancy is obviously to exclude things wholly irrelevant to the effect. With respect to the circumstance for the starting-to-work of the windscreen wipers, the car's radio being on is likely to be irrelevant. Other things are not irrelevant in the given sense, since they are required conditions of the effect—but they are not part of the causal circumstance. A causal circumstance, in accordance with the non- redundancy criterion, does not include a particular condition and also a causal circumstance for that condition, or any part of one. In specifying a circumstance for the working of the wipers, we may include the switch's being flipped, but if we do, we cannot also include the muscle movements which gave rise to the switch's being flipped. Certainly we    . do not need to try to go into the whole causal history of an event in order to specify something—one of the many sets of things—that had the property of making the occurrence of the event necessary. In general, if c is in a causal circumstance cc, and c is the effect of cc', then cc' cannot be part of cc and neither can any part of cc'. Equally, a causal circumstance cc for an event e does not include any other effect than e, perhaps an effect in a causal sequence connecting cc with e. To speak loosely, a causal circumstance does not include two or more links of any one causal line running through it from past to future. We shall have no need of a fuller definition of a causal circumstance than the informal one we now have—given in the nine propositions above. What will be of greater value is a partial characterization which mentions only those features (9, 5, 8, 7, in order of appearance in the partial characterization) which will be of most importance in what follows immediately. Thus, if cc was the only causal circumstance for an event e, then cc was no more than a set of conditions or events which necessitated e, and preceded e, and was dependently necessitated by e. As already noted, and as will be of some importance later in this inquiry, the temporal feature does not require that the constituents of the causal circumstance be simultaneous. The point will be of particular relevance in connection with causal sequences or causal chains, to be considered later in the most relevant context. (3.1) What is bound to come to mind at this point is that there are pairs of things distinct from, but fundamentally like, a causal circumstance and its effect. Certainly the thought must occur to anyone acquainted with almost any part of science, or even a small selection of scientific laws. Such pairs of things enter into what is variously described as interaction, reciprocal causation, functional interdependence, func- tional relation, concomitant variation, and so on. Such pairs of things are like a causal circumstance and its effect in that they stand in fundamental nomic or necessary connection (1.3), which is to say some connection stated by an independent nomic conditional statement. They differ from causal circumstance and effect in that they lack either or both of the features that give rise to the difference between causal circumstance and effect—the priority of the causal circumstance. Thus (i) neither may precede the other, or (ii) they are not such that one necessitates the other while the other merely dependently necessitates it, or (iii) they may lack both features. What is true, rather, is (i) that they are simultaneous, or (ii) each necessitates the other, or (iii) they are simultaneous and each necessitates the other. Such pairs are by definition nomic correlates. As in Figure 1, then, we have four principal categories of nomic or necessary connection, each involving some fundamental nomic con- nection but differing in some respect from each other category. Each of the three categories of nomic correlates is open to further description, as will be anticipated. For example, with respect to the first category of nomic correlates, the category which will be of most importance to us, there is the truth that if a necessitates b, then b is necessary to a. Also, if b dependently necessitated a, then a was dependently necessary to b. Certain objections to these conceptions, objections having to do with science, will be considered later. Let me say now only that there is no established conception or usage for 'nomic correlate' or other more or less equivalent terms used in talk of interaction, functional interdependence, concomitant variation, and so on. No doubt, with respect to the first and second categories of nomic correlates, it is possible to call the second member an effect without seeming to misuse language, including this or that scientific language. It is also possible, also without such misuse, not to call the second member an effect, but to call it a nomic correlate instead, as we have. It is on the way to being as reasonable as refusing to say about the see-saw that one end's going down is the effect of the other end's going up. It is reassuring to be able to say that the inquiry to come does not depend on our decision. We shall be concerned with the first category of nomic correlates, and refer to them as nomic correlates, but it is their nature rather than their name that is important. It will be noticed that in all of this the term 'correlate' is being used in a way consistent with our previous uses of 'event', 'cause', 'condition', 'causal circumstance', and 'effect': not for a type of thing, but for a thing itself, more particularly an individual property or set of such properties rather than a type. To use the term 'event' for a token rather than a type is ordinary. So with 'cause' and 'effect'. 'Condition' and 'causal circumstance' can also be used in this way. The ordinary use of the term 'correlate', where it is ordinarily used, is perhaps for a type of individual rather than an individual. We are departing from this usage, and must put up with some inconvenience, in order to have consistency and hence clarity in several contexts. Nothing substantial hangs on the decision. One last and related point. We have found causation to consist, at bottom, in connections between particulars. We have analysed the particular statements which state these connections. Some of these, analysed by way of independent nomic conditionals, are in a way general. (1.4) They are distinct, however, from causal generalizations, which will be of some importance in what follows. Much might be said of the relation between particular and general causal statements, but here a little must suffice. If we maintain that cc was a causal circumstance for e, we are maintaining the conditionals of which we know, notably that if cc occurred, then even if certain things of a general class had also occurred, e would still have occurred. This is evidently in a way general. By asserting it, however, we are also committing ourselves to a general conditional proposition of a standard kind. We cannot make the causal claim about cc and allow that other circumstances identical with cc have different upshots. If we take the starting of the wipers to be an effect of a given circumstance, we must accept that there is a type of circumstance which is connected with starlings of wipers generally. What is true, to express the matter simply, if cc was a causal circumstance for e, is this: If any circumstance of the type of cc occurs, even if certain other events or conditions also occur, so does an event of the type of e. If the event does not occur, neither does the circumstance. We are committed to other such generalizations, less simple, one of them related to the fact that a circumstance is dependently-necessary to the occurrence of an effect. We are similarly committed in connection with nomic correlates. Editor's Footnote This selection is from the first chapter of Honderich, A Theory of Determinism: The Mind, Neuroscience, and Life-Hopes (Oxford University Press). The selection also appears in Mind and Brain (OUP), the paper which reprints the first half of the longer book. The remainder of the chapter considers objections and alternative views. For a very much simplified account fundamental causal connection, see How Free Are You? The Determinism Question (OUP, 1st & 2nd editions). HOME to Det & Free Website front page HOME to T.H. Website front page