The Problem of Causality in Object-Oriented Ontology

C.J. Davies 1
  • 1 Muskingum University, , New Concord, United States of America


Object-oriented ontologists understand relations of cause and effect to be sensory or aesthetic in nature, not involving direct interaction between objects. Four major arguments are used to defend an indirect view of causation: 1) that there are analogies between perception and causation, 2) that the indirect view can account for cases of causation which a direct view cannot, 3) an Occasionalist argument that direct interaction would make causation impossible, and 4) that the view simply fits better with object-oriented ontology’s own premises. However, each argument is fallacious or otherwise unconvincing. The first affirms the consequent. The second fails because the relevant cases can easily be accounted for with a direct view. The third makes false assumptions about the relation between parts and wholes. And the fourth can also be used to argue against object-oriented ontology. Many of these problems can be traced to the methodological aspects of object-oriented ontology and might be avoided by emphasizing the role of non-argumentative justification in metaphysics.

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