An Examination of the Notion of Cause in the Light of Recent Contributions to the Philosophy of Nature

Saw, Ruth L.


Saw, Ruth L. (1927) An Examination of the Notion of Cause in the Light of Recent Contributions to the Philosophy of Nature.

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The accompanying thesis is entirely the result of my own research, except in so far as my ideas have become modified in the course of discussion with members of the philosophical department of Bedford College, and of the College Philosophical Society. I have also been helped by lectures arranged by the British Institute of Philosophical Studies, notably by Mr Russell's course of lectures on "Mind and Matter"; by discussions at meetings of the Aristotelian Society; and by various lectures given in London during the past two years by Dr Broad, Professor A.E. Taylor, and Professor Hunn.

My investigations appear to me to advance the study of causal theory in the following respects: I. By an analysis of concrete situations displaying causal connection, they show that common sense demands spatiotemporal and not merely temporal connection between events in causal sequence.

II, They show that an adequate account of causation can only be given in a philosophical system which has first revised its concepts in accordance with modern scientific theory, and in particular, with the modem assimilation of space and time.

III. They show that the scientific analysis of perception, light radiation, etc; requires us to postulate spatio-temporal continuity of causal process---(not in the sense of continuity, discreteness or compactness of abstract space time, hut in the sense that "something-going-on" most he postulated at every spatio-temporal point within a causal sequence.)

IV. From these three points of view, one condition of causal sequence is seen to be spatio-temporal continuity between events in the sequence, and this repaired spatio-temporal relationship between cause and effect events is analysed and stated in precise terms in Section V.

V. In this thesis also, Hume's dictum, which seems to me to be axiomatic, that multiplication of similar instances can never produce a relation which was not present in the single instance, is taken seriously, and the causal relation is shown to be a relation discoverable within the single instance. This position is shown to receive support from the modern tendency in physics and psychology, to view the ultimate data of both sciences, as being of the nature of process, or events.

VI. This position also, is shown to throw light on the necessity of the causal relation, which is of the nature of a universal connection within the concrete situation. Thus, inductive process is justified as the progressive acquiring of knowledge of relations within the single instance, and is well grounded in experience, since the universal connections which it seeks, are discoverable in the single given instance.

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This version's date is: 1927
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Item TypeThesis (Doctoral)
TitleAn Examination of the Notion of Cause in the Light of Recent Contributions to the Philosophy of Nature
AuthorsSaw, Ruth L.
Uncontrolled KeywordsPhilosophy; Philosophy, Religion And Theology; Cause; Contributions; Examination; Light; Nature; Notion; Philosophy; Philosophy Of Nature; Philosophy Of Nature; Recent



Deposited by () on 01-Feb-2017 in Royal Holloway Research Online.Last modified on 01-Feb-2017


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