, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 523–538 | Cite as

The Ontology of Causal Process Theories



There is a widespread belief that the so-called process theories of causation developed by Wesley Salmon and Phil Dowe have given us an original account of what causation really is. In this paper, I show that this is a misconception. The notion of “causal process” does not offer us a new ontological account of causation. I make this argument by explicating the implicit ontological commitments in Salmon and Dowe’s theories. From this, it is clear that Salmon’s Mark Transmission Theory collapses to a counterfactual theory of causation, while the Conserved Quantity Theory collapses to David Fair’s phsyicalist reduction of causation.


Dowe Salmon Process theories of causation Ontological commitments 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Critical Philosophy, Department of Philosophy and Moral SciencesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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