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Is There an Intrinsic Criterion for Causal Lawlike Statements?





A scientific mathematical law is causal if and only if it is a process law that contains a time derivative. This is the intrinsic criterion for causal laws we propose. A process is a space-time line along which some properties are conserved or vary. A process law contains a time variable, but only process laws that contain a time derivative are causal laws. An effect is identified with what corresponds to a time derivative of some property or magnitude in a process law, whereas the other terms correspond to the cause(s). According to our criterion, causes are simultaneous with their effects and causality has no temporal direction. Several examples from natural and social disciplines support the applicability of our criterion to all scientific laws. Various objections to our proposal are presented and refuted. The merits our intrinsic theory of causality vis-à-vis the Salmon–Dowe conserved quantity theory are discussed.

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