Modality If we conclude that the first cause is a necessary fact and that every other fact is caused by the first cause, and we assume that causes always necessitate their effects, we must conclude that every fact is necessary, that there are no contingent facts in the world. This seems clearly wrong. Consequently, I will argue that causes do not typically necessitate their effects. Instead, the relation between causes and effects is much weaker: causes make their effects probable, not necessary. Our actual practices, both in everyday life and in the sciences, confirm this position. We rarely if ever discover a condition that is followed invariably by some other specific condition. We are content if we can find some condition that makes its effect very likely. For example, it was determined that the fragility in cold temperatures of the O-ring was part of the cause of the Challenger accident. This does not depend on our being able to reproduce conditions that would, in every case, lead to an identical explosion. It is enough that it is very probable that a O-ring
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