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The Effectiveness of Causes presents a strong view of causation seen as an operation between participants in events, and not as a relation holding between events themselves. In it, Emmet proposes that other philosophical views of cause and effect provide only a world of events, each of which is presented as an unchanging unit. Such a world, she contends, is a "Zeno universe," since transitions and movement are lost.
Emmet offers a more complex interpretation of the various forms of causal dependence. She sees "immanent" causation in the mere persistence of things, where effects are not temporarily separable from causes, and she considers the operation of "efficacious grace."
This is a new approach to the traditional problem and provides stimulating implications for the other metaphysical questions and for the philosophy of science.
Dorothy Emmet is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Manchester. She is the author of Whitehead's Philosophy of Organism; The Nature of Metaphysical Thinking; Function, Purpose and Powers; Rules, Roles and Relations, and The Moral Prism. She is also co-editor (with Alasdair MacIntyre) of Sociological Theory and Philosophical Analysis.
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