For the notion of proximate cause in law
, see proximate cause
. Law is a system of rules enforced through a set of Institutions used as an instrument to underpin civil obedience politics economics and society For English law, see Causation in English law In the Law, a proximate cause is an event sufficiently related to a legally recognizable injury
In philosophy a proximate cause is an event which is closest, or immediately responsible, for causing some observed result. Philosophy is the study of general problems concerning matters such as existence knowledge truth beauty justice validity mind and language Causality (but not causation) denotes a necessary relationship between one event (called cause and another event (called effect) which is the direct consequence This exists in contrast to a higher-level ultimate cause (or distal cause) which is usually thought of as the "real" reason something occurred.
- Example: Why did the ship sink?
- Proximate cause: Because it was holed beneath the waterline, water entered the hull and the ship became heavier than the water which supported it, so it couldn't stay afloat.
- Ultimate cause: Because the ship hit a rock which tore open the hole in the ship's hull.
In most situations, an ultimate cause may itself be a proximate cause for a further ultimate cause. Hence we can continue the above example as follows:
- Example: Why did the ship hit the rock?
- Proximate cause: Because the ship failed to change course to avoid it.
- Ultimate cause: Because the ship was under autopilot and the autopilot received bad data from the GPS.
Separating proximate from ultimate causations frequently leads to better understandings of the events and systems concerned.
In ethology, the study of animal behavior, causation can be considered in terms of these two mechanisms. Ethology ( from Greek ἦθος ethos, "character" and λόγος logos, "knowledge") is the scientific study of Animal
- Proximate causation: Explanation of an animal's behavior based on trigger stimuli and internal mechanisms. Physiology (from Greek grc φύσις physis, "nature origin" and grc -λογία -logia) is the study of the mechanical physical
- Ultimate causation: Explanation of an animal's behavior based on evolution. eVolution is the third Album by eLDee, it was due to be released in 2008 Requires that behavioral traits, like physical ones, are genetically heritable, and then explains behavior using an explanation of why this specific behavioral trait was favored by natural selection. Natural selection is the process by which favorable Heritable traits become more common in successive Generations of a Population of
These can be further divided, for example proximate causes may be given in terms of local muscle movements or in terms of developmental biology (see Tinbergen's four questions). Developmental Biology is the official journal of the Society for Developmental Biology. When asked questions of animal and human behavior such as why these creatures see even elementary school children can answer that vision helps them find food and avoid danger
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