The reason why I find this question to be worthy here is because a Google search simply does not return any valid resources. Most results are from, shall we say, less scientific sources, yet simultaneously The Law of Cause and Effect is a central principle in the world of the sciences. I Imagine there are various sub-laws expatiating upon the relationship between Cause and Effect, various axioms for and/or derived by the law, and entailments of the law.

What I want is something imitating Aristotle's 3 Laws Of Existence. Existence is an 'obvious' principle central to science, as we, afterall, don't go about studying the non-existent, so we may sometimes take this for grated. However, even this 'obvious' principle has certain properties that have been delineated by Aristotle. I was wondering if anything has been similarly documented for the Law Of Cause And Effect.

  • The reason for unlucky googling is that there is no such law in science, it is a philosophical principle that functions there at best as a heuristic maxim, and mostly in more classical contexts. In quantum theory and in soft sciences it is largely rejected. There was a time when things were different, see principle of sufficient reason and metaphysics of causation
    – Conifold
    Jan 16, 2017 at 23:06

1 Answer 1


Well, there has been loads of literature on causality in general.

The only text I know off the top of my hat that specifically adresses your specific need though is Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. He writes both about the Law of Causality and in his third antinomy, writes about what it entails. These accounts are substantially Aristotelian, though.

To get in touch with the discourse, I would recommend the Oxford Handbook of Causation that contains all main views on that topic and numerous references for each of them.

The first paragraph of the introduction reads:

PHILOSOPHERS have been interested in the nature of causation for as long as there has been philosophy. They have been interested in what we say about the world when we say that one thing caused another, and in whether there is anything in the world that answers to the causal claims we make about it. Despite the attention, there is still very little agreement on the most central question concerning causation: what is it? Is it a matter of the instantiation of regularities or laws, or counterfactual dependence, or manipulability, or transfer of energy, for example? One reason for the lack of a consensus view is the sheer difficulty of the task; anyone familiar with the causation debate as it has been conducted in recent years will be familiar with a vast range of theories and counterexamples, which collectively can lead one to suspect that no univocal analysis of the concept of causation is possible.

The main lines today are Regularity Theories, Counterfactual Theories, Probabilistic Theories, Causal Process Theories, and Agency and Interventionist Theories, as per the table of content.

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