pp 1–6 | Cite as

Peter Menzies, Difference maker

H. Beebee, C. Hitchcock, and H. Price (eds): Making a difference: essays on the philosophy of causation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, 336pp, £55.00 HB
  • Phil DoweEmail author
Review Essay

The introduction to this volume begins ‘When Peter Menzies died in February 2015 the philosophy of causation lost one of its clearest and most insightful voices, and many in philosophy generally lost a dear colleague, collaborator, and friend’. Intentionally the title contains an apt ambiguity, highlighting a theme throughout Menzies’ work that causation is at heart a matter of difference making, while also underscoring the significant difference that Menzies made to philosophy. As Menzies’ Ph.D. supervisor at Stanford, Nancy Cartwright, says in Chapter 8, ‘Not only his specific ideas but his imagination, his approach, his excitement about the work, and his engagement with others and the way they think have had a huge influence in our field’ (132). This influence is well evidenced by the set of contributions in this volume.

Menzies’ 1993 paper with Huw Price is still cited today as the modern locus classicus of the agency theory of causation. According to Menzies and Price, Ais a...



  1. List, Christian, and Peter Menzies. 2009. Non-reductive physicalism and the limits of the exclusion principle. Journal of Philosophy 106: 475–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Menzies, Peter. 1996. Probabilistic causation and the pre-emption problem. Mind 105: 85–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Menzies, Peter. 2004. Difference-making in context. In Causation and counterfactuals, ed. N. Hall, L. Paul, and J. Collins, 139–180. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  4. Menzies, Peter. 2007. Causation in context. In Causation, physics, and the constitution of reality: Russell’s republic revisited, ed. R. Cory and H. Price. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Menzies, Peter, and Huw Price. 1993. Causation as a secondary quality. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44: 187–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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