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Account of causation

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Fall 2021

PHL332: Metaphysics
Term Project

The term project is due on Dec. 11 (11:59PM). You can submit the file of the completed project at

The site accepts MS Word and PDF files, namely, those with extensions *.doc, *docx, and *.PDF*. (Do not send them by email. Email submissions will not be accepted.)
To complete the project, answer three of the four questions given on the next page. (Do not answer more than 3 questions.) The answers must be typed with the usual format (double-space, font size 12, 1″ margin, etc.). The answer to a question cannot exceed 5 pages. Begin your answer to each question on a new page and give the question number at the top of the new page. On the first page (the cover sheet), write your name and student ID, using the template file “TP (Term Project) cover” posted on Quercus (Modules section).
Your answers must be written in complete English sentences. Each answer must be complete on its own, including explanations ofany important philosophical terms you use. But make it as short as possible by making it to the point. (No long quotations! Quotations are to be used rarely, if at all, and you need to explain the points of the quoted passages in your own words. Unlike in essays based on research, you need not give full citation details.) Your answers must be independent of each other; do not refer to your answer to one question in answering another question. If the question includes sub-questions, it must be clear where you are answering them.
You may use any books, notes, or other materials. But you cannot have discussions with others; nor can you exchange notes with each other.


Account of causation

1. Explain how Hume’s account of causation differs from the traditional account and how Hume argues against the traditional account. In doing so, make clear how Hume’s objection is based on his empiricism and whether his account totally avoids appeal to the notion of necessitation.
2. Consider two cases:
(a) Joe the Smoker: Joe got lung cancer after smoking tobacco heavily for 10 years and
tragically died of lung cancer when he was just 30 years old.
(b) Amanda the Drinker: Amanda made sure to drink at least 3 liters of water every day
until she died at age 80.
Explain whether these cases raise problems for Hume’s account of causation or the traditional account and discuss an account of causation that can handle the cases. In do so, explain how this account handle the two cases and whether it has any problems.
3. In “Time”, McTaggart holds that “an A series cannot exist, and … therefore time cannot exist”. Explain how he argues that “an A series cannot exist”, and how this relates to the thesis that “Time is unreal”. In doing so, explain what he means by ‘A series’ and ‘B series’, what he means when he holds “Time is unreal”, and how some might object to his argument that an A series cannot exist.
4. In “Time”, McTaggart holds that “there can be no time without an A series” (section 325). Explain how he argues for this thesis, and how he relates it to the thesis that “Time is unreal”. In doing so, explain how he relates time to change and whether there is a problem with his view about the relation between time and change. Also explain how the A series captures an aspect of human experience that is not captured by the B series.
Make sure to write your name and student ID on the cover page.






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