, Volume 83, Issue 6, pp 1245–1264 | Cite as

Russell and the Temporal Contiguity of Causes and Effects

  • Graham ClayEmail author
Original Research


There are some necessary conditions on causal relations that seem to be so trivial that they do not merit further inquiry. Many philosophers assume that the requirement that there could be no temporal gaps between causes and their effects is such a condition. Bertrand Russell disagrees. In this paper, an in-depth discussion of Russell’s argument against this necessary condition is the centerpiece of an analysis of what is at stake when one accepts or denies that there can be temporal gaps between causes and effects. It is argued that whether one accepts or denies this condition, one is implicated in taking on substantial and wide-ranging philosophical positions. Therefore, it is not a trivial necessary condition of causal relations and it merits further inquiry.



I would like to thank Sara Bernstein, Anjan Chakravartty, Xavi Lanao, Samuel Newlands, Caleb Ontiveros, Mark Puestohl, Sebastian Murgueitio Ramirez, Norman Sieroka, and Jeremy Steeger for discussion, guidance, and helpful comments on earlier drafts.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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