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Paul's Aspect Causation

In L.A. Paul's 'Aspect Causation', he argues that causation is not a relation
between events, but is instead a relation between property instances. Paul first
explains the different kinds of event causation: fine-grained events and
coarse-grained events. These two different theories establish how we distinguish
events. A fine-grained theory will allow for more events than a course-grained
theory will, simply because it allows for more specific events to exist. For
instance, "when cat C. Louise sneezes loudly, according to [the fine-grained
theorist] at least two events occur in that region of spacetime: C Louise's
sneezing and C. Louise's sneezing loudly" (207). A coarse-grained theorist like
Davidson would suggest that "events are individuated by the regions of spacetime
they occupy" (209). So the instance of C. Louise sneezing and sneezing loudly
are the same event because they occur in the same region of spacetime. The
problem that Paul points out with both of these theories is that they both have
readily available counter examples. No matter how fine-grained your causal
theory of events may be, it seems that one should always be able to produce a
kind of counter example (similar to the ones which Paul uses throughout the
beginning of his paper). Likewise, for the coarse-grained theory: there will be
instances where the coarse-grained theorist would want to say that a region of
spacetime has two different events happening, but won’t be able to. These
theories lead to a dilemma, one in which we are either too detailed and
misattribute causation, or missing too many details and can’t seem to nail
down the proper cause. Paul suggests that this problem can be overcome by
disregarding event causation and instead start talking about causation as
property instances. Aspect causation says that for any aspect cp that
lawfully entails eq, and if cp influences eq,
then eq is directly caused by cp (218). This account
tightens up the influence theory in two ways: first, it prevents anything from
being a cause if it does not lawfully entail the effect, and it prevents illicit
information from being included in causal claims by taking aspects rather than
events as the causal relata (219).

Paul later in the paper reviews several objections that were brought up earlier.
It is mentioned that "if Possum’s mass were to change [the properties of C.
Louise's eating of the fly] would also change" (220). Thus, Possum's mass
somehow counts as a cause of some of the properties of the eating. Is this an
issue for Paul? I contend that it is. The gravitational forces Possum exerts on
C. Louise and the fly certainly impact particular properties, why should it be
the case that this change is an interesting one?  Before, we were discontent
with allowing too much information in our causal story, saying that it was
ludicrous to argue that Lucy's skiing accident caused her paper to be published.
Paul argued sincerely against this point, and yet here he seems to renege on his
position. There doesn't seem to be a good reason to want to do this. Paul tries
to provide one later, but saying that this is "an advantage" because "in some
contexts we might need to ask about what caused these minute gravitational
effects, and then we would need to be able to cite Possum's mass as among the
causes" (220). So we accept that this is a fine thing because it could be useful
to describing aspect dependence and how they change. But I fail to see how this
point significantly distinguishes this case from the case with Lucy. It seems
that we too would want to possible include the crash as an explanation because
it gives particular information we may be interested in. This isn't to say that
aspect causation isn't an adequate theory, it just seems that Paul is willing to
be a bit more open open accepting this theory's own flaws than other peoples. 


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