Plurality of causes

Principle saying that, though the same cause must have the same effect each time, the same effect need not have the same cause each time. (Of course the cause on one occasion may be complex and involve many contributory factors; but could these be replaced by different factors when the effect next occurs?)

The principle seems plausible, but is this because the effect is only vaguely described? Death can have many different causes, but could the precise death undergone by Smith at midnight last Thursday?

Is it true that, given a complete description of the universe at one moment, we could in principle know what its future will be but not what its past was (ignoring for convenience problems about self-prediction and so on)?


  • Plurality (voting), the most votes for any choice in an election, but not necessarily a majority
    • Plurality voting, system in which each voter votes for one candidate and the candidate with a plurality is elected
    • Plurality-at-large voting or block voting, system for electing several representatives from a single electoral district

Psychology and psychiatry

  • Multiplicity (psychology), also known as plurality, having or using multiple personalities
    • Dissociative identity disorder, dysfunction associated with plurality

Other uses

  • Plurality opinion, in a decision by a multi-member court, an opinion held by more judges than any other but not by an overall majority
  • Plurality (church governance), a type of Christian church polity in which decisions are made by a committee
  • Plurality (company), an Israeli semiconductor company
  • Plurality, one of the “twelve pure concepts of the understanding” proposed by Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason
  • Plurality, the holding of more than one benefice

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