Causality (also referred to as causation, or cause and effect) is the agency or efficacy that connects one process (the cause) with another process or state (the effect), where the first is understood to be partly responsible for the second, and the second is dependent on the first. In general, a process has many causes, which are said to be causal factors for it, and all lie in its past. An effect can in turn be a cause of many other effects. Although retrocausality is sometimes referred to in thought experiments and hypothetical analyses, causality is generally accepted to be temporally bound so that causes always precede their dependent effects.
Causality is an abstraction that indicates how the world progresses, so basic a concept that it is more apt as an explanation of other concepts of progression than as something to be explained by others more basic. The concept is like those of agency and efficacy. For this reason, a leap of intuition may be needed to grasp it. Accordingly, causality is built into the conceptual structure of ordinary language.
In Aristotelian philosophy, the word ’cause’ is also used to mean ‘explanation’ or ‘answer to a why question’, including Aristotle’s material, formal, efficient, and final “causes”; then the “cause” is the explanans for the explanandum. In this case, failure to recognize that different kinds of “cause” are being considered can lead to futile debate. Of Aristotle’s four explanatory modes, the one nearest to the concerns of the present article is the “efficient” one.
The topic remains a staple in contemporary philosophy.
While studying of meaning of causality semantics traditionally appeal to the chicken or the egg causality dilemma, i.e. “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”. Then it allocates its constituent elements: a cause, an effect and link itself, that joins both of them.