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  1. Events and Their Counterparts.Neil McDonnell - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1291-1308.
    This paper argues that a counterpart-theoretic treatment of events, combined with a counterfactual theory of causation, can help resolve three puzzles from the causation literature. First, CCT traces the apparent contextual shifts in our causal attributions to shifts in the counterpart relation which obtains in those contexts. Second, being sensitive to shifts in the counterpart relation can help diagnose what goes wrong in certain prominent examples where the transitivity of causation appears to fail. Third, CCT can help us resurrect the (...)
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  2. How to Trace a Causal Process.J. Dmitri Gallow - manuscript
    According to the theory developed here, we may trace out the processes emanating from a cause in such a way that any consequence lying along one of these processes counts as an effect of the cause. This theory gives intuitive verdicts in a diverse range of problem cases from the literature. Its claims about causation will never be retracted when we include additional variables in our model. And it validates some plausible principles about causation, including Sartorio's 'Causes as Difference Makers' (...)
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  3. Specificity and Redundant Causation.Henning Strandin - manuscript
    In this paper I present a metaphysically minimalist but theoretically strong version of fact causation, in which the causal relata constitute a full Boolean algebra, mirroring the entailment relation of the sentences that express them. I suggest a generalization of the notion of multiple realizability of causes in terms of specificity of facts, and employ this in an interpretation of what goes on in cases of apparently redundant causation.
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  4. The Temporal Asymmetry of Counterfactuals.Terrance A. Tomkow & Kadri Vihvelin - manuscript
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  5. Why Your Causal Intuitions Are Corrupt: Intermediate and Enabling Variables.Christopher Clarke - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.
    When evaluating theories of causation, intuitions should not play a decisive role, not even intuitions in flawlessly-designed thought experiments. Indeed, no coherent theory of causation can respect the typical person’s intuitions in redundancy (pre-emption) thought experiments, without disrespecting their intuitions in threat-and-saviour (switching / short-circuit) thought experiments. I provide a deductively sound argument for these claims. Amazingly, this argument assumes absolutely nothing about the nature of causation. I also provide a second argument, whose conclusion is even stronger: the typical person’s (...)
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  6. Generalizing the Problem of Humean Undermining.Heather Demarest & Elizabeth Miller - forthcoming - In Christian Loew, Siegfried Jaag & Michael Townsen Hicks (eds.), Humean Laws for Human Agents. Oxford: Oxford UP.
    For Humeans, many facts—even ones intuitively “about” particular, localized macroscopic parts of the world—turn out to depend on surprisingly global fundamental bases. We investigate some counterintuitive consequences of this picture. Many counterfactuals whose antecedents describe intuitively localized, non-actual states of affairs nevertheless end up involving wide-ranging implications for the global, embedding Humean mosaic. The case of self-undermining chances is a familiar example of this. We examine that example in detail and argue that popular existing strategies such as “holding the laws (...)
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  7. Pre-Emption Cases May Support, Not Undermine, the Counterfactual Theory of Causation.Robert Northcott - forthcoming - Synthese 198 (1):537-555.
    Pre-emption cases have been taken by almost everyone to imply the unviability of the simple counterfactual theory of causation. Yet there is ample motivation from scientific practice to endorse a simple version of the theory if we can. There is a way in which a simple counterfactual theory, at least if understood contrastively, can be supported even while acknowledging that intuition goes firmly against it in pre-emption cases—or rather, only in some of those cases. For I present several new pre-emption (...)
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  8. Timeless Causation?Zhiheng Tang - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-9.
    This paper presents a line of thought against the possibility of causation without time. That possibility, insofar as it is supposedly rested upon a Lewisian counterfactual theory of causation, does not stand up to scrutiny. The key point is that, as a reflection on the trans-world identity of events reveals, events deprived of times are—according to Lewis’s own semantics of counterfactuals—no longer eligible to stand in counterfactual dependence.
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  9. Causation in Physics & in Phyiscalism.Justin Tiehen - forthcoming - Acta Analytica.
    It is widely thought that there is an important argument to be made that starts with premises taken from the science of physics and ends with the conclusion of physicalism. The standard view is that this argument takes the form of a causal argument for physicalism. Roughly: physics tells us that the physical realm is causally complete, and so minds (among other entities) must be physical if they are to interact with the world as we think they do. In what (...)
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  10. Absence and Abnormality.Bram Vaassen - forthcoming - Analysis.
    Absences pose a dilemma for theories of causation. Allowing them to be causes seems to make theories too permissive (Lewis, 2000). Banning them from being causes seems to make theories too restrictive (Schaffer, 2000, 2004). An increasingly popular approach to this dilemma is to acknowledge that norms can affect which absences count as causes (e.g., Thomson, 2003; McGrath, 2005; Henne et al., 2017; Willemsen, 2018). In this article, I distinguish between two influential implementations of such ‘abnormality’ approaches and argue that (...)
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  11. Causal Selection Versus Causal Parity in Biology: Relevant Counterfactuals and Biologically Normal Interventions.Marcel Weber - forthcoming - In C. Kenneth Waters & James Woodward (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Causal Reasoning in Biology. Minnesota Studies in Philosophy of Science. Vol. XXI. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
    Causal selection is the task of picking out, from a field of known causally relevant factors, some factors as elements of an explanation. The Causal Parity Thesis in the philosophy of biology challenges the usual ways of making such selections among different causes operating in a developing organism. The main target of this thesis is usually gene centrism, the doctrine that genes play some special role in ontogeny, which is often described in terms of information-bearing or programming. This paper is (...)
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  12. Is 'Cause' Ambiguous?Phil Corkum - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179:2945-71.
    Causal pluralists hold that that there is not just one determinate kind of causation. Some causal pluralists hold that ‘cause’ is ambiguous among these different kinds. For example, Hall (2004) argues that ‘cause’ is ambiguous between two causal relations, which he labels dependence and production. The view that ‘cause’ is ambiguous, however, wrongly predicts zeugmatic conjunction reduction, and wrongly predicts the behaviour of ellipsis in causal discourse. So ‘cause’ is not ambiguous. If we are to disentangle causal pluralism from the (...)
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  13. A Variety of Causes[REVIEW]J. Dmitri Gallow - 2022 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  14. An Interaction Effect of Norm Violations on Causal Judgment.Maureen Gill, Jonathan F. Kominsky, Thomas F. Icard & Joshua Knobe - 2022 - Cognition 228:105183.
    Existing research has shown that norm violations influence causal judgments, and a number of different models have been developed to explain these effects. One such model, the necessity/sufficiency model, predicts an interac- tion pattern in people’s judgments. Specifically, it predicts that when people are judging the degree to which a particular factor is a cause, there should be an interaction between (a) the degree to which that factor violates a norm and (b) the degree to which another factor in the (...)
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  15. Halfway Proportionality.Bram Vaassen - 2022 - Philosophical Studies (9):1-21.
    According to the so-called 'proportionality principle', causes should be proportional to their effects: they should be both enough and not too much for the occurrence of their effects. This principle is the subject of an ongoing debate. On the one hand, many maintain that it is required to address the problem of causal exclusion and take it to capture a crucial aspect of causation. On the other hand, many object that it renders accounts of causation implausibly restrictive and often reject (...)
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  16. Actual Causation.Enno Fischer - 2021 - Dissertation, Leibniz Universität Hannover
    In this dissertation I develop a pluralist theory of actual causation. I argue that we need to distinguish between total, path-changing, and contributing actual causation. The pluralist theory accounts for a set of example cases that have raised problems for extant unified theories and it is supported by considerations about the various functions of causal concepts. The dissertation also analyses the context-sensitivity of actual causation. I show that principled accounts of causal reasoning in legal inquiry face limitations and I argue (...)
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  17. A Model-Invariant Theory of Causation.J. Dmitri Gallow - 2021 - Philosophical Review 130 (1):45-96.
    I provide a theory of causation within the causal modeling framework. In contrast to most of its predecessors, this theory is model-invariant in the following sense: if the theory says that C caused (didn't cause) E in a causal model, M, then it will continue to say that C caused (didn't cause) E once we've removed an inessential variable from M. I suggest that, if this theory is true, then we should understand a cause as something which transmits deviant or (...)
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  18. List and Menzies on High‐Level Causation.Jens Jäger - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 102 (4):570-591.
    I raise two objections against Christian List and Peter Menzies' influential account of high-level causation. Improving upon some of Stephen Yablo's earlier work, I develop an alternative theory which evades both objections. The discussion calls into question List and Menzies' main contention, namely, that the exclusion principle, applied to difference-making, is false.
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  19. Morgenbesser’s Coin.Yael Loewenstein - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (5):317-328.
    Before a fair, indeterministic coin is tossed, Lucky, who is causally isolated from the coin-tossing mechanism, declines to bet on heads. The coin lands heads. The consensus is that the following counterfactual is true: (M:) If Lucky had bet heads, he would have won the bet. It is also widely believed that to rule (M) true, any plausible semantics for counterfactuals must invoke causal independence. But if that’s so, the hope of giving a reductive analysis of causation in terms of (...)
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  20. Cause and Burn.David Rose, Eric Sievers & Shaun Nichols - 2021 - Cognition 207 (104517):104517.
    Many philosophers maintain that causation is to be explicated in terms of a kind of dependence between cause and effect. These “dependence” theories are opposed by “production” accounts which hold that there is some more fundamental causal “oomph”. A wide range of experimental research on everyday causal judgments seems to indicate that ordinary people operate primarily with a dependence-based notion of causation. For example, people tend to say that absences and double preventers are causes. We argue that the impression that (...)
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  21. We Should Not Be a Counterpart Theorist of Events If We Want to Be a Counterfactual Theorist of Causation.Zhiheng Tang - 2021 - Theoria 87 (5):1038-1049.
    Although David Lewis advocates a counterpart-theoretic treatment of objects but rejects a parallel treatment of events, many philosophers have — mainly to solve some puzzles within the framework of a Lewisian counterfactual analysis of causation — suggested that the counterpart-theoretic treatment be extended to events. This article argues that we had better not be a counterpart theorist of events as long as we want to remain at all faithful to the counterfactual analysis of causation.
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  22. Quantum Occasionalism.Vasil Penchev - 2020 - Philosophy of Science eJournal (Elsevier: SSRN) 13 (34):1-14.
    Both transition and transformation link the ideal and material into a whole. Future is what “causes” the present, and the latter in turn is what “causes” the past. That kind of “reverse causality” needs free choice and free will in the present in order to be able to be realized unlike classical causality. A few properties feature the concept of “quantum occasionalism” as follows. Some hypothetical entity generates successively a series of well-ordered states. That hypothetical entity is called “coherent state” (...)
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  23. Why All Classical Theists Should Believe in Physical Premotions, but It Doesn’T Really Matter.James Dominic Rooney - 2020 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 88 (2):139-166.
    “Physical premotion” is a concept associated with Baroque Catholic theological debates concerning grace and freedom. In this paper, I present an argument that the entities identified in this debate, physical premotions, are necessary for any classical theist’s account of divine causality. A “classical theist” is a theist who holds both that God is simple, that is, without inhering properties, and that humans and God are both free in the incompatibilist sense. In fact, not only does the acceptance of physical premotions (...)
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  24. Metaphysical explanations and the counterfactual theory of explanation.Stefan Roski - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1971-1991.
    According to an increasingly popular view among philosophers of science, both causal and non-causal explanations can be accounted for by a single theory: the counterfactual theory of explanation. A kind of non-causal explanation that has gained much attention recently but that this theory seems unable to account for are grounding explanations. Reutlinger :239-256, 2017) has argued that, despite these appearances to the contrary, such explanations are covered by his version of the counterfactual theory. His idea is supported by recent work (...)
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  25. Hume, Causation and Counterfactuals.Joshua Anderson - 2019 - Humanites Bulletin 2 (1):36-49.
    What is offered here is an interpretation of Hume’s views on causation. While it might not be literally Hume’s view, it is certainly consistent with Hume, and is probably what Hume should say on causation, in light of recent developments in science and logic. As a way in, it is argued that the considerations that Hume brings against rationalist theories of causation can be applied to counterfactual theories of causation. Since, counterfactuals, possible worlds and modality were not ideas that would (...)
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  26. What Might a Theory of Causation Do for Sport?Evan Thomas Knott - 2019 - Philosophies 4 (2):34-0.
    The purpose of this research is to articulate how a theory of causation might be serviceable to a theory of sport. This article makes conceptual links between Bernard Suits’ theory of game-playing, causation, and theories of causation. It justifies theories of causation while drawing on connections between sport and counterfactuals. It articulates the value of theories of causation while emphasizing possible limitations. A singularist theory of causation is found to be more broadly serviceable with particular regard to its analysis of (...)
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  27. Causes As Difference‐Makers For Processes.Christian Loew - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (1):89-106.
    It is natural to think of causes as difference-makers. What exact difference causes make, however, is an open question. In this paper, I argue that the right way of understanding difference-making is in terms of causal processes: causes make a difference to a causal process that leads to the effect. I will show that this way of understanding difference-making nicely captures the distinction between causing an outcome and helping determine how the outcome happens and, thus, explains why causation is not (...)
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  28. A Principled Approach to Defining Actual Causation.Sander Beckers & Joost Vennekens - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):835-862.
    In this paper we present a new proposal for defining actual causation, i.e., the problem of deciding if one event caused another. We do so within the popular counterfactual tradition initiated by Lewis, which is characterised by attributing a fundamental role to counterfactual dependence. Unlike the currently prominent definitions, our approach proceeds from the ground up: we start from basic principles, and construct a definition of causation that satisfies them. We define the concepts of counterfactual dependence and production, and put (...)
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  29. Making a Contribution and Making a Difference.Neil McDonnell - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (3):303-312.
    There are at least two different concepts that philosophers might target when analyzing causation: a pre-selective notion and a selective notion. This paper argues that these two distinct conceptions have been conflated to date, citing the puzzles of overdetermination, extensionality, and transitivity as evidence. The primary aim of the paper is to help reset the methodological scene concerning analyses of causation.
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  30. Transitivity and Proportionality in Causation.Neil McDonnell - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1211-1229.
    It is commonly assumed that causation is transitive and in this paper I aim to reconcile this widely-held assumption with apparent evidence to the contrary. I will discuss a familiar approach to certain well-known counterexamples, before introducing a more resistant sort of case of my own. I will then offer a novel solution, based on Yablo’s proportionality principle, that succeeds in even these more resistant cases. There is a catch, however. Either proportionality is a constraint on which causal claims are (...)
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  31. The Psychological Representation of Modality.Jonathan Phillips & Joshua Knobe - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (1):65-94.
    A series of recent studies have explored the impact of people's judgments regarding physical law, morality, and probability. Surprisingly, such studies indicate that these three apparently unrelated types of judgments often have precisely the same impact. We argue that these findings provide evidence for a more general hypothesis about the kind of cognition people use to think about possibilities. Specifically, we suggest that this aspect of people's cognition is best understood using an idea developed within work in the formal semantics (...)
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  32. Hasteners and Delayers: Why Rains Don’T Cause Fires.Caroline Torpe Touborg - 2018 - Philosophical Studies (7):1-20.
    We typically judge that hasteners are causes of what they hasten, while delayers are not causes of what they delay. These judgements, I suggest, are sensitive to an underlying metaphysical distinction. To see this, we need to pay attention to a relation that I call positive security-dependence, where an event E security-depends positively on an earlier event C just in case E could more easily have failed to occur if C had not occurred. I suggest that we judge that an (...)
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  33. The Transitivity and Asymmetry of Actual Causation.Sander Beckers & Joost Vennekens - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4:1-27.
    The counterfactual tradition to defining actual causation has come a long way since Lewis started it off. However there are still important open problems that need to be solved. One of them is the (in)transitivity of causation. Endorsing transitivity was a major source of trouble for the approach taken by Lewis, which is why currently most approaches reject it. But transitivity has never lost its appeal, and there is a large literature devoted to understanding why this is so. Starting from (...)
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  34. Normality and Actual Causal Strength.Thomas Icard, Jonathan Kominsky & Joshua Knobe - 2017 - Cognition 161:80-93.
    Existing research suggests that people's judgments of actual causation can be influenced by the degree to which they regard certain events as normal. We develop an explanation for this phenomenon that draws on standard tools from the literature on graphical causal models and, in particular, on the idea of probabilistic sampling. Using these tools, we propose a new measure of actual causal strength. This measure accurately captures three effects of normality on causal judgment that have been observed in existing studies. (...)
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  35. The Non‐Occurrence Of Events.Neil McDonnell - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2):269-285.
    What is it for an event not to occur? This is an urgent, yet under explored, question for counterfactual analyses of causation quite generally. In this paper I take a lead from Lewis in identifying two different possible standards of non-occurrence that we might adopt and I argue that we need to apply them asymmetrically: one standard for the cause, another for the effect. This is a surprising result. I then offer a contextualist refinement of the Lewis approach in light (...)
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  36. Causal Counterfactuals and Impossible Worlds.Daniel Nolan - 2017 - In Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Huw Price (eds.), Making a Difference. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 14-32.
    A standing challenge in the theory of counterfactuals is to solve the “deviation problem”. Consider ordinary counterfactuals involving an antecedent concerning a difference from the actual course of events at a particular time, and a consequent concerning, at least in part, what happens at a later time. In the possible worlds framework, the problem is often put in terms of which are the relevant antecedent worlds. Desiderata for the solution include that the relevant antecedent worlds be governed by the actual (...)
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  37. A Theory of Structural Determination.J. Dmitri Gallow - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):159-186.
    While structural equations modeling is increasingly used in philosophical theorizing about causation, it remains unclear what it takes for a particular structural equations model to be correct. To the extent that this issue has been addressed, the consensus appears to be that it takes a certain family of causal counterfactuals being true. I argue that this account faces difficulties in securing the independent manipulability of the structural determination relations represented in a correct structural equations model. I then offer an alternate (...)
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  38. An Internal Limit of the Structural Analysis of Causation.Alessandro Giordani - 2016 - Axiomathes 26 (4):429-450.
    Structural models of systems of causal connections have become a common tool in the analysis of the concept of causation. In the present paper I offer a general argument to show that one of the most powerful definitions of the concept of actual cause, provided within the structural models framework, is not sufficient to grant a full account of our intuitive judgements about actual causation, so that we are still waiting for a comprehensive definition. This is done not simply by (...)
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  39. A Defense of Causal Invariantism.Martin Montminy & Andrew Russo - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (1):49-75.
    Causal contextualism holds that sentences of the form ‘c causes e’ have context-sensitive truth-conditions. We consider four arguments invoked by Jonathan Schaffer in favor of this view. First, he argues that his brand of contextualism helps solve puzzles about transitivity. Second, he contends that how one describes the relata of the causal relation sometimes affects the truth of one’s claim. Third, Schaffer invokes the phenomenon of contrastive focus to conclude that causal statements implicitly designate salient alternatives to the cause and (...)
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  40. A Closer Look at Trumping.Sara Bernstein - 2015 - Acta Analytica 30 (1):1-22.
    This paper argues that so-called “trumping preemption” is in fact overdetermination or early preemption, and is thus not a distinctive form of redundant causation. I draw a novel lesson from cases thought to be trumping: that the boundary between preemption and overdetermination should be reconsidered.
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  41. Relativity, Quantum Entanglement, Counterfactuals, and Causation.Luke Fenton-Glynn & Thomas Kroedel - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (1):45-67.
    We investigate whether standard counterfactual analyses of causation imply that the outcomes of space-like separated measurements on entangled particles are causally related. Although it has sometimes been claimed that standard CACs imply such a causal relation, we argue that a careful examination of David Lewis’s influential counterfactual semantics casts doubt on this. We discuss ways in which Lewis’s semantics and standard CACs might be extended to the case of space-like correlations.
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  42. Causal Superseding.Jonathan F. Kominsky, Jonathan Phillips, Tobias Gerstenberg, David Lagnado & Joshua Knobe - 2015 - Cognition 137:196-209.
    When agents violate norms, they are typically judged to be more of a cause of resulting outcomes. In this paper, we suggest that norm violations also affect the causality attributed to other agents, a phenomenon we refer to as "causal superseding." We propose and test a counterfactual reasoning model of this phenomenon in four experiments. Experiments 1 and 2 provide an initial demonstration of the causal superseding effect and distinguish it from previously studied effects. Experiment 3 shows that this causal (...)
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  43. Unifying Morality’s Influence on Non-Moral Judgments: The Relevance of Alternative Possibilities.Jonathan Phillips, Jamie B. Luguri & Joshua Knobe - 2015 - Cognition 145:30-42.
    Past work has demonstrated that people’s moral judgments can influence their judgments in a number of domains that might seem to involve straightforward matters of fact, including judgments about freedom, causation, the doing/allowing distinction, and intentional action. The present studies explore whether the effect of morality in these four domains can be explained by changes in the relevance of alternative possibilities. More precisely, we propose that moral judgment influences the degree to which people regard certain alternative possibilities as relevant, which (...)
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  44. Manipulating the Contents of Consciousness.Alfredo Vernazzani - 2015 - Proceedings of the 37th Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.
    I argue for a manipulationist-mechanistic framework for content-NCC research in the case of visual consciousness (Bechtel 2008; Neisser 2012). Reference to mechanisms is common in the NCC research. Furthermore, recent developments in non-invasive brain stimulation techniques (NIBS) lend support to a manipulationist standpoint. The crucial question is to understand what is changed after manipulation of a brain mechanism. In the second part of the paper I review the literature on intentionalism, and argue that intervention on the neural mechanism is likely (...)
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  45. What Causally Insensitive Events Tell Us About Overdetermination.Sara Bernstein - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (4):1-18.
    Suppose that Billy and Suzy each throw a rock at window, and either rock is sufficient to shatter the window. While some consider this a paradigmatic case of causal overdetermination, in which multiple cases are sufficient for an outcome, others consider it a case of joint causation, in which multiple causes are necessary to bring about an effect. Some hold that every case of overdetermination is a case of joint causation underdescribed: at a maximal level of description, every cause is (...)
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  46. Two Problems for Proportionality About Omissions.Sara Bernstein - 2014 - Dialectica 68 (3):429-441.
    Theories of causation grounded in counterfactual dependence face the problem of profligate omissions: numerous irrelevant omissions count as causes of an outcome. A recent purported solution to this problem is proportionality, which selects one omission among many candidates as the cause of an outcome. This paper argues that proportionality cannot solve the problem of profligate omissions for two reasons. First: the determinate/determinable relationship that holds between properties like aqua and blue does not hold between negative properties like not aqua and (...)
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  47. Difference‐Making in Epistemology.Juan Comesaña & Carolina Sartorio - 2014 - Noûs 48 (2):368-387.
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  48. Systems Without a Graphical Causal Representation.Daniel M. Hausman, Reuben Stern & Naftali Weinberger - 2014 - Synthese 191 (8):1925-1930.
    There are simple mechanical systems that elude causal representation. We describe one that cannot be represented in a single directed acyclic graph. Our case suggests limitations on the use of causal graphs for causal inference and makes salient the point that causal relations among variables depend upon details of causal setups, including values of variables.
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  49. Causation.Douglas Kutach - 2014 - Polity.
    In most academic and non-academic circles throughout history, the world and its operation have been viewed in terms of cause and effect. The principles of causation have been applied, fruitfully, across the sciences, law, medicine, and in everyday life, despite the lack of any agreed-upon framework for understanding what causation ultimately amounts to. In this engaging and accessible introduction to the topic, Douglas Kutach explains and analyses the most prominent theories and examples in the philosophy of causation. The book is (...)
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  50. Introduction to Special Issue on 'Actual Causation'.Michael Baumgartner & Luke Glynn - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (1):1-8.
    An actual cause of some token effect is itself a token event that helped to bring about that effect. The notion of an actual cause is different from that of a potential cause – for example a pre-empted backup – which had the capacity to bring about the effect, but which wasn't in fact operative on the occasion in question. Sometimes actual causes are also distinguished from mere background conditions: as when we judge that the struck match was a cause (...)
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1 — 50 / 78