Doing and Causing

  • David-Hillel Ruben


Does the LHS of (PT) entail its RHS? When a person acts (and the action verb is an ergative verb), isn’t it trivially true that he causes, i.e., that he is a cause of, the event intrinsic to the action, trivially true that he brings that very event about? Are all doings causings even if not all causings are doings? It is this question that this chapter addresses.

I do hold that the LHS of (PT) entails the RHS. But should we understand the LHS and the RHS of (CA) as being about two particulars or as using two descriptions of a single particular? I describe one-particularism as the view that takes the second of those options. I strengthen the case for one-particularism by looking at the idea of Cambridge changes (and hence Cambridge actions). I examine two obvious counter-arguments to one-particularism: (a) that, on an action chain, an action doesn’t cause another action, but it only causes the event that is intrinsic to its successor action on the chain, if it has one; (b) Alvin Goldman’s view, shared by many others, that would imply that one-particularism gets the time of an action wrong.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • David-Hillel Ruben
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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