Deconstructing Internal Causation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This paper argues that the set of verbs characterized by Levin Rappaport Hovav (1995) as internally caused do not form a grammatically coherent class. In particular, the verbs which have been termed internally caused change of state verbs show grammatical properties which distinguish them from all the other internally caused verbs. It is argued that within the class of change of state verbs, there is no grammatically relevant classification of verbs or roots in terms of internal and external causation. The internally caused change of state verbs often describe events which come about in the natural course of events, and it is shown that the general principles governing lexical causatives, in particular, the (non) appearance of cause arguments dictate that these verbs most often appear in the intransitive variant and with external arguments which refer to ambient conditions. This, however, is just a tendency, and follows from the nature of the events described by the verbs, and not from any grammatical property of the verbs. The verbs bloom, blossom and flower, often taken to represent the class of internally caused COS verbs are shown to be better analyzed as a special class of substance emission verbs. The property which is suggested to unify the non-change-of-state internally caused verbs is that of selecting a force-creator.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives on Causation: Selected Papers from the Jerusalem 2017 Workshop
Subtitle of host publication Selected Papers from the Jerusalem 2017 Workshop
EditorsElitzur A. Bar-Asher Siegal, Nora Boneh
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages37
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-34308-8
StatePublished - 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Deconstructing Internal Causation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this