I have a question on causation Presuming transitive causation such as :

A causes B causes C, Where we say A causes C

Is it correct to say: A causes C in virtue of causing the effect that is B that then causes C


A causes the cause of C ( which is B)

To me the second option sounds absurd as causes don't cause causes they cause effects.

Am I right here? Please advice...

  • I'm not quite following why the cause-of-C cannot also be the effect-of-A. Can you explain better why that seems implausible to you?
    – virmaior
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 12:02
  • I'm not saying it's not transitive causation, im saying a is the cause of c in virtue of being the cause of an effect b that then is the cause of c. But a is not the cause of the cause of c, as cause of the cause makes no sense, you have the cause of an effect that then becomes the cause of another event, but never " cause of a cause"
    – Jane
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 12:31
  • I'm not following you on "cause of a cause makes no sense." Why do you think that does not make sense? Why do you think this can't be understood as transitive causation? Either the explanation of the background is lacking or there's no reason why the cause of something cannot be itself caused by something else.
    – virmaior
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 12:39
  • 2
    An event can be both a cause of one thing and an effect of another. A ball hitting the window is the cause of the window breaking, and also the effect of a child throwing it. Nothing mysterious about that. (Just like a woman can be both someone's daughter and someone's mother.)
    – E...
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 13:28
  • It's about the language used. Causes produce effects. Causes don't produce causes. So where a causes c(an effect) it does so in virtue of being the cause of b and then b(the effect) then becomes a cause of c. A does not cause the cause, it causes the effect which then becomes the cause of c
    – Jane
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 13:56

2 Answers 2


It is just a matter of semantics.

Imagine a line of dominoes. If you were to say:

"The first falling causes the second to fall and the second falling causes the third to fall"

You would be saying the same thing with

"The first falling causes the cause of the third falling".

Presuming you have no problem with the first statement the only problem you might have is semantics.


Something can be both a cause and an effect at the same time. B is the effect of A, and B is the cause of C. C is an (indirect) effect of A, so A (indirectly) causes C. So, both your suggestions are correct. A causes the cause of C, so the cause of C (B) is an effect of A.

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