Event Detail

Mon Sep 22, 2014
Howison Library, 4–6 PM
Townsend Visitor
Jennifer Hornsby (Birkbeck, University of London)
Causativity and Causality

I’ll present an objection to a deep-seated assumption present in much writing on causation-that the relata of any causal relation are objects in a sense of ‘object’ that one finds, for instance, in Hume. I shall suggest, what Hume and many others disallow, that a causal relation can obtain over an interval of time. I’ll start by considering the behaviour of so-called causative verbs as used in accounts of human action. My concern is not the semantics of sentences that contain these verbs, but the ontology of the thoughts that these, and plenty of other, sentences express.

Possible background reading:

  • Jennifer Hornsby, “Agency and Actions”. In Agency and Action, eds. H. Steward & J. Hyman (C.U.P. 2004).
  • Zoltán Gendler Szabó, “On the Progressive and the Perfective”, especially §4 ff. (44-54). Noûs 38 (2004).
  • Zoltán Gendler Szabó, “Things in Progress,” especially §4 ff. (515-520). Philosophical Perspectives 22 (2008).