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  1. A Proposed Probabilistic Extension of the Halpern and Pearl Definition of ‘Actual Cause’.Luke Fenton-Glynn - unknown
    In their article 'Causes and Explanations: A Structural-Model Approach. Part I: Causes', Joseph Halpern and Judea Pearl draw upon structural equation models to develop an attractive analysis of 'actual cause'. Their analysis is designed for the case of deterministic causation. I show that their account can be naturally extended to provide an elegant treatment of probabilistic causation.
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  2. Probabilistic Actual Causation.Fenton-Glynn Luke - manuscript
    Actual causes - e.g. Suzy's being exposed to asbestos - often bring about their effects - e.g. Suzy's suffering mesothelioma - probabilistically. I use probabilistic causal models to tackle one of the thornier difficulties for traditional accounts of probabilistic actual causation: namely probabilistic preemption.
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  3. Causation in Reflective Judgment.Michael Kurak - 2016 - Kant Studies Online (1):12-41.
    The existing body of scholarship on Kant’s Critique of Judgment is rife with disagreement. At the centre of much of this disagreement is the issue of precisely what Kant understands to be taking place in a harmonization of the cognitive faculties. Is aesthetic reflective judgment to be identified with, or separated from, this harmonious state of the faculties of imagination and understanding? If aesthetic judgment is identified with this state, as is argued herein, then upon what is a judgment of (...)
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  4. Review of Tad Schmaltz, Descartes on Causation. [REVIEW]Edward Slowik - 2011 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 1 (1):165-169.
    A review of Tad Schmaltz' book on Descartes on causation.
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  5. What's So Unobservable About Causation?Richard Brown - manuscript
    Written in 2002/2003 while I was a graduate student at the University of Connecticut and ultimately submitted as part of my qualifying exam for the Master Degree in philosophy. I argue that the causal relation is observable even if the necessity of the connection is not. This version (the only one that remains) was prepared for presentation at the New Jersey Regional Philosophy Association.
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  6. Unravelling the Methodology of Causal Pluralism.Anton Froeyman & Leen De Vreese - 2008 - Philosophica 81 (1).
    In this paper we try to bring some clarification in the recent debate on causal pluralism. Our first aim is to clarify what it means to have a pluralistic theory of causation and to articulate the criteria by means of which a certain theory of causation can or cannot qualify as a pluralistic theory of causation. We also show that there is currently no theory on the\nmarket which meets these criteria, and therefore no full-blown pluralist theory of causation exists. Because (...)
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  7. Probability-Lowering Causes and the Connotations of Causation.Andrés Páez - 2013 - Ideas Y Valores 62 (151):43-55.
    A common objection to probabilistic theories of causation is that there are prima facie causes that lower the probability of their effects. Among the many replies to this objection, little attention has been given to Mellor's (1995) indirect strategy to deny that probability-lowering factors are bona fide causes. According to Mellor, such factors do not satisfy the evidential, explanatory, and instrumental connotations of causation. The paper argues that the evidential connotation only entails an epistemically relativized form of causal attribution, not (...)
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  8. How Effects Depend on Their Causes, Why Causal Transitivity Fails, and Why We Care About Causation.Gunnar Björnsson - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 133 (3):349-390.
    Despite recent efforts to improve on counterfactual theories of causation, failures to explain how effects depend on their causes are still manifest in a variety of cases. In particular, theories that do a decent job explaining cases of causal preemption have problems accounting for cases of causal intransitivity. Moreover, the increasing complexity of the counterfactual accounts makes it difficult to see why the concept of causation would be such a central part of our cognition. In this paper, I propose an (...)
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  9. Pragmatic Causation.Antony Eagle - 2003 - In Huw Price & Richard Corry (eds.), Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell's Republic Revisited. Oxford University Press.
    Russell famously argued that causation should be dispensed with. He gave two explicit arguments for this conclusion, both of which can be defused if we loosen the ties between causation and determinism. I show that we can define a concept of causation which meets Russell’s conditions but does not reduce to triviality. Unfortunately, a further serious problem is implicit beneath the details of Russell’s arguments, which I call the causal exclusion problem. Meeting this problem involves deploying a minimalist pragmatic account (...)
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  10. Mellor's Facts and Chances of Causation.Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra - 1998 - Analysis 58 (3):175–181.
    Mellor´s theory of causation has two components, one according to which causes raise their effects´ chances, and one according to which causation links facts. I argue that these two components are not independent from each other and, in particular, that Mellor´s thesis that causation links facts requires his thesis that causes raise their effects´ chances, since without the latter thesis Mellor cannot stop the slingshot argument, an argument that is a threat to any theory postulating facts as the relata of (...)
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The Direction of Causation
  1. Causation and Time Reversal.Matt Farr - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx025.
    What would it be for a process to happen backwards in time? Would such a process involve different causal relations? It is common to understand the time reversal invariance of a physical theory in causal terms, such that whatever can happen forwards in time (according to the theory) can also happen backwards in time. This has led many to hold that time reversal symmetry is incompatible with the asymmetry of cause and effect. This paper critiques the causal reading of time (...)
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  2. Causation, Physics, and Fit.Christian Loew - 2017 - Synthese 194 (6):1945–1965.
    Our ordinary causal concept seems to fit poorly with how our best physics describes the world. We think of causation as a time-asymmetric dependence relation between relatively local events. Yet fundamental physics describes the world in terms of dynamical laws that are, possible small exceptions aside, time symmetric and that relate global time slices. My goal in this paper is to show why we are successful at using local, time-asymmetric models in causal explanations despite this apparent mismatch with fundamental physics. (...)
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  3. Can Interventionists Be Neo-Russellians? Interventionism, the Open Systems Argument, and the Arrow of Entropy.Alexander Reutlinger - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (3):273-293.
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Volume 27, Issue 3, Page 273-293, September 2013.
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  4. Causal Production as Interaction.Rognvaldur Ingthorsson - 2002 - Metaphysica 3 (1):87-119.
    The paper contains a novel realist account of causal production and the necessary connection between cause and effect. I argue that the asymmetric relation between causally connected events must be regarded as a product of a symmetric interaction between two or more entities. All the entities involved contribute to the producing, and so count as parts of the cause, and they all suffer a change, and so count as parts of the effect. Cause and effect, on this account, are two (...)
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  5. 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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  6. A Relic of a Bygone Age? Causation, Time Symmetry and the Directionality Argument.Matt Farr & Alexander Reutlinger - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):215-235.
    Bertrand Russell famously argued that causation is not part of the fundamental physical description of the world, describing the notion of cause as “a relic of a bygone age”. This paper assesses one of Russell’s arguments for this conclusion: the ‘Directionality Argument’, which holds that the time symmetry of fundamental physics is inconsistent with the time asymmetry of causation. We claim that the coherence and success of the Directionality Argument crucially depends on the proper interpretation of the ‘ time symmetry’ (...)
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  7. The Metaphysics of Forces.Olivier Massin - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (4):555-589.
    This paper defends the view that Newtonian forces are real, symmetrical and non-causal relations. First, I argue that Newtonian forces are real; second, that they are relations; third, that they are symmetrical relations; fourth, that they are not species of causation. The overall picture is anti-Humean to the extent that it defends the existence of forces as external relations irreducible to spatio-temporal ones, but is still compatible with Humean approaches to causation (and others) since it denies that forces are a (...)
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  8. Causation as Simultaneous and Continuous.Michael Huemer & Ben Kovitz - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (213):556–565.
    We propose that all actual causes are simultaneous with their direct effects, as illustrated by both everyday examples and the laws of physics. We contrast this view with the sequential conception of causation, according to which causes must occur prior to their effects. The key difference between the two views of causation lies in differing assumptions about the mathematical structure of time.
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  9. The Physical Foundations of Causation.Douglas Kutach - 2007 - In Huw Price & Richard Corry (eds.), Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell's Republic Revisited. Oxford University Press.
    I defend what may loosely be called an eliminativist account of causation by showing how several of the main features of causation, namely asymmetry, transitivity, and necessitation, arise from the combination of fundamental dynamical laws and a special constraint on the macroscopic structure of matter in the past. At the microscopic level, the causal features of necessitation and transitivity are grounded, but not the asymmetry. At the coarse-grained level of the macroscopic physics, the causal asymmetry is grounded, but not the (...)
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Causal Overdetermination
  1. On Causal Relevance.Paul Raymont - 2004 - Dialogue 43 (2):367-376.
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  2. The Supervenience Argument.Juhani Yli-Vakkuri & Ausonio Marras - 2008 - In S. Gozzano & F. Oralia (eds.), Universals, Tropes and the Philosophy of Mind. Ontos Verlag. pp. 101-132.
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  3. Overdetermination Underdetermined.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (1):17-40.
    Widespread causal overdetermination is often levied as an objection to nonreductive theories of minds and objects. In response, nonreductive metaphysicians have argued that the type of overdetermination generated by their theories is different from the sorts of coincidental cases involving multiple rock-throwers, and thus not problematic. This paper pushes back. I argue that attention to differences between types of overdetermination discharges very few explanatory burdens, and that overdetermination is a bigger problem for the nonreductive metaphysician than previously thought.
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  4. World Navels.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2014 - Cartouche of the Canadian Cartographic Association 89:15-21.
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  5. Causal Overdetermination and Kim's Exclusion Argument.Michael Roche - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (3):809-826.
    Jaegwon Kim’s influential exclusion argument attempts to demonstrate the inconsistency of nonreductive materialism in the philosophy of mind. Kim’s argument begins by showing that the three main theses of nonreductive materialism, plus two additional considerations, lead to a specific and familiar picture of mental causation. The exclusion argument can succeed only if, as Kim claims, this picture is not one of genuine causal overdetermination. Accordingly, one can resist Kim’s conclusion by denying this claim, maintaining instead that the effects of the (...)
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  6. 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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  7. Overdetermination in Intuitive Causal Decision Theory.Esteban Céspedes - 2013 - In Miguel Hoeltje, Thomas Spitzley & Wolfgang Spohn (eds.), Was dürfen wir glauben? Was sollen wir tun? Sektionsbeiträge des achten internationalen Kongresses der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie e.V.
    Causal decision theory defines a rational action as the one that tends to cause the best outcomes. If we adopt counterfactual or probabilistic theories of causation, then we may face problems in overdetermination cases. Do such problems affect Causal decision theory? The aim of this work is to show that the concept of causation that has been fundamental in all versions of causal decision theory is not the most intuitive one. Since overdetermination poses problems for a counterfactual theory of causation, (...)
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  8. Emerging From the Causal Drain.Richard Corry - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (1):29-47.
    For over 20 years, Jaegwon Kim’s Causal Exclusion Argument has stood as the major hurdle for non-reductive physicalism. If successful, Kim’s argument would show that the high-level properties posited by non-reductive physicalists must either be identical with lower-level physical properties, or else must be causally inert. The most prominent objection to the Causal Exclusion Argument—the so-called Overdetermination Objection—points out that there are some notions of causation that are left untouched by the argument. If causation is simply counterfactual dependence, for example, (...)
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  9. Of Miracles and Interventions.Luke Glynn - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (1):43-64.
    In Making Things Happen, James Woodward influentially combines a causal modeling analysis of actual causation with an interventionist semantics for the counterfactuals encoded in causal models. This leads to circularities, since interventions are defined in terms of both actual causation and interventionist counterfactuals. Circularity can be avoided by instead combining a causal modeling analysis with a semantics along the lines of that given by David Lewis, on which counterfactuals are to be evaluated with respect to worlds in which their antecedents (...)
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  10. 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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  11. Counterfactuals, Overdetermination and Mental Causation.Simona Aimar - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (3pt3):469-477.
    The Exclusion Problem for mental causation suggests that there is a tension between the claim that the mental causes physical effects, and the claim that the mental does not overdetermine its physical effects. In response, Karen Bennett puts forward an extra necessary condition for overdetermination : if one candidate cause were to occur but the other were not to occur, the effect would still occur. She thus denies one of the assumptions of EP, the assumption that if an effect has (...)
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  12. Can Determinable Properties Earn Their Keep?Robert Schroer - 2011 - Synthese 183 (2):229-247.
    Sydney Shoemaker's "Subset Account" offers a new take on determinable properties and the realization relation as well as a defense of non-reductive physicalism from the problem of mental causation. At the heart of this account are the claims that (1) mental properties are determinable properties and (2) the causal powers that individuate a determinable property are a proper subset of the causal powers that individuate the determinates of that property. The second claim, however, has led to the accusation that the (...)
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  13. Causal Exclusion and Overdetermination.Markus E. Schlosser - 2006 - In E. Di Nucci & J. McHugh (eds.), Content, Consciousness and Perception. Cambridge Scholars Press.
    This paper is about the causal exclusion argument against non-reductive physicalism. Many philosophers think that this argument poses a serious problem for non-reductive theories of the mind — some think that it is decisive against them. In the first part I will outline non-reductive physicalism and the exclusion argument. Then I will distinguish between three versions of the argument that address three different versions of non-reductive physicalism. According to the first, the relation between mental and physical events is token-identity. According (...)
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  14. How Effects Depend on Their Causes, Why Causal Transitivity Fails, and Why We Care About Causation.Gunnar Björnsson - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 133 (3):349-390.
    Despite recent efforts to improve on counterfactual theories of causation, failures to explain how effects depend on their causes are still manifest in a variety of cases. In particular, theories that do a decent job explaining cases of causal preemption have problems accounting for cases of causal intransitivity. Moreover, the increasing complexity of the counterfactual accounts makes it difficult to see why the concept of causation would be such a central part of our cognition. In this paper, I propose an (...)
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Causal Preemption
  1. Causes As Difference‐Makers For Processes.Christian Loew - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. Of Miracles and Interventions.Luke Glynn - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (1):43-64.
    In Making Things Happen, James Woodward influentially combines a causal modeling analysis of actual causation with an interventionist semantics for the counterfactuals encoded in causal models. This leads to circularities, since interventions are defined in terms of both actual causation and interventionist counterfactuals. Circularity can be avoided by instead combining a causal modeling analysis with a semantics along the lines of that given by David Lewis, on which counterfactuals are to be evaluated with respect to worlds in which their antecedents (...)
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  5. Turning Negative Causation Back to Positive.Peter Fazekas & George Kampis - manuscript
    In contemporary literature, the fact that there is negative causation is the primary motivation for rejecting the physical connection view, and arguing for alternative accounts of causation. In this paper we insist that such a conclusion is too fast. We present two frameworks, which help the proponent of the physical connection view to resist the anti-connectionist conclusion. According to the first framework, there are positive causal claims, which co-refer with at least some negative causal claims. According to the second framework, (...)
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  6. How Effects Depend on Their Causes, Why Causal Transitivity Fails, and Why We Care About Causation.Gunnar Björnsson - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 133 (3):349-390.
    Despite recent efforts to improve on counterfactual theories of causation, failures to explain how effects depend on their causes are still manifest in a variety of cases. In particular, theories that do a decent job explaining cases of causal preemption have problems accounting for cases of causal intransitivity. Moreover, the increasing complexity of the counterfactual accounts makes it difficult to see why the concept of causation would be such a central part of our cognition. In this paper, I propose an (...)
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Causation by Absences
  1. Absence Causation for Causal Dispositionalists.Randolph Clarke - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (3):323-331.
    Several theories of causation reject causation of or by absences. They thereby clash with much of what we think and say about what causes what. This paper examines a way in which one kind of theory, causal dispositionalism, can be modified so as to accept absence causation, while still retaining a fundamental commitment of dispositionalism. The proposal adopts parts of a strategy described by David Lewis. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the problem of the proliferation of causes.
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  2. Negative Findings in Electronic Health Records and Biomedical Ontologies: A Realist Approach.Werner Ceusters, Peter Elkin & Barry Smith - 2007 - International Journal of Medical Informatics 76 (3):S326-S333.
    PURPOSE—A substantial fraction of the observations made by clinicians and entered into patient records are expressed by means of negation or by using terms which contain negative qualifiers (as in “absence of pulse” or “surgical procedure not performed”). This seems at first sight to present problems for ontologies, terminologies and data repositories that adhere to a realist view and thus reject any reference to putative non-existing entities. Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) and Referent Tracking (RT) are examples of such paradigms. The (...)
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  3. Causal and Moral Indeterminacy.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Ratio 29 (4):434-447.
    This paper argues that several sorts of metaphysical and semantic indeterminacy afflict the causal relation. If, as it is plausible to hold, there is a relationship between causation and moral responsibility, then indeterminacy in the causal relation results in indeterminacy of moral responsibility more generally.
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  4. Omission Impossible.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2575-2589.
    This paper gives a framework for understanding causal counterpossibles, counterfactuals imbued with causal content whose antecedents appeal to metaphysically impossible worlds. Such statements are generated by omissive causal claims that appeal to metaphysically impossible events, such as “If the mathematician had not failed to prove that 2+2=5, the math textbooks would not have remained intact.” After providing an account of impossible omissions, the paper argues for three claims: (i) impossible omissions play a causal role in the actual world, (ii) causal (...)
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  5. Absence Causation and a Liberal Theory of Causal Explanation.Zhiheng Tang - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):688-705.
    For the framework of event causation—i.e. the framework according to which causation is a relation between events—absences or omissions pose a problem. Absences, it is generally agreed, are not events; so, under the framework of event causation, they cannot be causally related. But, as a matter of fact, absences are often taken to be causes or effects. The problem of absence causation is thus how to make sense of causation that apparently involves absences as causes or effects. In an influential (...)
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  6. The Power of Holes.Daisuke Kachi - 2011 - Ontology Meeting: A Supplementary Volume for 2011, February Meeting:7-11.
    Firstly I define a hole as a dependent matter-less endurant, which is a little modification of Casati and Varzi’s definition. Adopting this definition, holes seem to invite three problems about causation: (1)causal closure, (2)ungrounded disposition and (3)causal overdetermination. I will defend my definition against all these problems by showing that holes are limiting cases of physical endurants rather than their opposition and that they have causal powers in a broad sense.
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  7. 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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  8. The Role Functionalist Theory of Absences.Justin Tiehen - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (3):505-519.
    Functionalist theories have been proposed for just about everything: mental states, dispositions, moral properties, truth, causation, and much else. The time has come for a functionalist theory of nothing. Or, more accurately, a role functionalist theory of those absences that are causes and effects.
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  9. A Weakened Mechanism Is Still A Mechanism: On the Causal Role of Absences in Mechanistic Explanation.Alexander Mebius - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 45 (1):43-48.
    Much contemporary debate on the nature of mechanisms centers on the issue of modulating negative causes. One type of negative causability, which I refer to as “causation by absence,” appears difficult to incorporate into modern accounts of mechanistic explanation. This paper argues that a recent attempt to resolve this problem, proposed by Benjamin Barros, requires improvement as it overlooks the fact that not all absences qualify as sources of mechanism failure. I suggest that there are a number of additional types (...)
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  10. Omissions as Possibilities.Sara Bernstein - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (1):1-23.
    I present and develop the view that omissions are de re possibilities of actual events. Omissions do not literally fail to occur; rather, they possibly occur. An omission is a tripartite metaphysical entity composed of an actual event, a possible event, and a contextually specified counterpart relation between them. This view resolves ontological, causal, and semantic puzzles about omissions, and also accounts for important data about moral responsibility for outcomes resulting from omissions.
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  11. Turning Negative Causation Back to Positive.Peter Fazekas & George Kampis - manuscript
    In contemporary literature, the fact that there is negative causation is the primary motivation for rejecting the physical connection view, and arguing for alternative accounts of causation. In this paper we insist that such a conclusion is too fast. We present two frameworks, which help the proponent of the physical connection view to resist the anti-connectionist conclusion. According to the first framework, there are positive causal claims, which co-refer with at least some negative causal claims. According to the second framework, (...)
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