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Causation & Laws - PHI00095H

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Paul Noordhof
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

There will be study of the major theories of causation and laws of nature, and the relationship between them.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

To study the main theories of causation, laws of the nature, and the relationship between these two.

Module learning outcomes

Students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the philosophical issues concerning the nature of causation and laws of nature, and the connection between them.

Module content

After considering the relationship between causation and laws of nature, we will consider three theories of law – regularity, contingent nomic necessitation and powers – and the particular theories of causation they support. Issues which come up in the course of this discussion will include the counterfactual analysis of causation, whether causal non-symmetry is to be understood in terms of human interventions; negative causation and process theories of causation and, to close, the possibility of a non-reductive approach.


Task Length % of module mark
4000 Word Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Students will produce a one page (A4, 11 point) essay plan on one topic of the module, Friday of 8th week.


Task Length % of module mark
4000 Word Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback on essay plan in 9th/10th week, and on final essay.

Indicative reading

Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock and Peter Menzies (eds. 2009), The Oxford Handbook of Causation

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.