a1 Duke University
Ted Honderich's ‘Causes and If p, even if x, still q’ contains many good points I shall not discuss. My discussion is restricted to some of the points Honderich makes about causal priority in the final two sections of his paper. He considers several proposals, new and old, for accounting for causal priority before he presents a tentativeproposal of his own. He thinks that some of these proposals, besides having difficulties peculiar to themselves, share the deficiency of lacking the proper character. When we look for the difference between causal circumstances and causes, on the one hand, and their effects, on the other, he says,
We are not pursuing any difference between these things. We arepursuing a difference of a certain character. What we are after has to do with what we say: that causes and causal circumstances make their effects happen, and not the other way on, and that causes and causal circumstances explain their effects, and not the other way on.