defining types of causation

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Assignment 1: Defining Types of Causation

In this week’s reading we learned about four types of causality: causally necessary, causally sufficient, causally necessary and sufficient, and causal dependence of one variable on another.

By the due date assigned, post two example claims of at least two types of causality and label them appropriately. Then, explain why the example fits your definition/selected type of causality.

Through the end of the module, comment on at least two of your peers’ posts. Have they appropriately categorized their examples? If not, what type of causality have they offered in their examples?

Here is an example of two of my classmates responses:

Example #1

Looking at the sun will cause you to go blind. This is a sufficient cause. Looking at the sun is not the only thing that can cause you to go blind.

Wood from trees is used to make paper. this is a sufficient cause. Other plants besides trees are used to make paper. Areas without large forests use bamboo, straw, or sugarcane to create paper.

A car cannot start without gas. This is a necessary condition. If you do not have gas in your tank, then your car will not start.

To survive you must have oxygen. This is a necessary condition. If you are in a room without oxygen, then you will die.

Example #2

Two types of causality. One type, causally sufficient; if need water to live. With water one can have fish. Water can exist without fish, but fish cannot live without water.

Another example bees make flowers. Flowers exist without bees, but bees cannot exit without flowers (pollen is all they eat therefore no flowers, no bees)

Another type: causally necessary and sufficient. When male and female cats are in the same cage, they produce kittens. Kittens do not occur on their own. When cats are kept together they always produce offspring. The effect never occurs without the cause, and the cause never occurs without the effect.

Another example is plants make oxygen. Before plants there was very little oxygen. Without oxygen, one will not have plants because oxygen is produced by plants while they are alive as a byproduct of photosynthesis. One does not exist without the other and vice a versa.


Nolt J., Rohtyn D.,Varzi A., (1998) Schaums’ Outline of theory and Problems of LOGIC, The McGraw-Hill Co

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