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  1. The Logical Form of Negative Action Sentences.Jonathan D. Payton - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (6):855-876.
    It is typically assumed that actions are events, but there is a growing consensus that negative actions, like omissions and refrainments, are not events, but absences thereof. If so, then we must either deny the obvious, that we can exercise our agency by omitting and refrainment, or give up on event-based theories of agency. I trace the consensus to the assumption that negative action sentences are negative-existentials, and argue that this is false. The best analysis of negative action sentences treats (...)
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  • How to Identify Negative Actions with Positive Events.Jonathan D. Payton - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):87-101.
    It is often assumed that, while ordinary actions are events, ‘negative actions’ are absences of events. I claim that a negative action is an ordinary, ‘positive’ event that plays a certain role. I argue that my approach can answer standard objections to the identity of negative actions and positive events.
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  • Causation by Absence: Omission Impossible.Lawrence B. Lombard & Tiffany Hudson - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (2):625-641.
    In this paper, we argue that, omissions are not events or actions, but rather fact-like entities, and that, insofar as only events and actions can be causes, omissions cannot be causes. Nevertheless, since omissions can, and often do, play a role in the explanations of events, their place in such explanations must be found; and an attempt to find such a place is made.
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  • Events.Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    A critical survey of the main philosophical theories about events and event talk, organized in three main sections: (i) Events and Other Categories (Events vs. Objects; Events vs. Facts; Events vs. Properties; Events vs. Times); (ii) Types of Events (Activities, Accomplishments, Achievements, and States; Static and Dynamic Events; Actions and Bodily Movements; Mental and Physical Events; Negative Events); (iii) Existence, Identity, and Indeterminacy.
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  • Cause by Omission and Norm: Not Watering Plants.Paul Henne, Ángel Pinillos & Felipe De Brigard - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2):270-283.
    People generally accept that there is causation by omission—that the omission of some events cause some related events. But this acceptance elicits the selection problem, or the difficulty of explaining the selection of a particular omissive cause or class of causes from the causal conditions. Some theorists contend that dependence theories of causation cannot resolve this problem. In this paper, we argue that the appeal to norms adequately resolves the selection problem for dependence theories, and we provide novel experimental evidence (...)
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  • 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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  • Causal Idealism.Sara Bernstein - forthcoming - In Tyron Goldschmidt & Kenneth Pearce (eds.), Idealism: New Essays in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press.
    This paper argues that causal idealism, the view that causation is a product of mental activity, should be considered a competetitor to contemporary views that incorporate human thought and agency into the causal relation. Weighing contextualism, contrastivism, or pragmatism about causation against causal idealism results in at least a tie with respect to the virtues of these theories.
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  • 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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  • Causal Proportions and Moral Responsibility.Sara Bernstein - 2017 - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility, Volume 4. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 165-182.
    This paper poses an original puzzle about the relationship between causation and moral responsibility called The Moral Difference Puzzle. Using the puzzle, the paper argues for three related ideas: (1) the existence of a new sort of moral luck; (2) an intractable conflict between the causal concepts used in moral assessment; and (3) inability of leading theories of causation to capture the sorts of causal differences that matter for moral evaluation of agents’ causal contributions to outcomes.
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  • Counterfactuals and Counterparts: Defending a Neo-Humean Theory of Causation.Neil McDonnell - 2015 - Dissertation, Macquarie University and University of Glasgow
    Whether there exist causal relations between guns firing and people dying, between pedals pressed and cars accelerating, or between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming, is typically taken to be a mind-independent, objective, matter of fact. However, recent contributions to the literature on causation, in particular theories of contrastive causation and causal modelling, have undermined this central causal platitude by relativising causal facts to models or to interests. This thesis flies against the prevailing wind by arguing that we must pay (...)
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  • Natural Kinds as Nodes in Causal Networks.Muhammad Khalidi - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1379-1396.
    In this paper I offer a unified causal account of natural kinds. Using as a starting point the widely held view that natural kind terms or predicates are projectible, I argue that the ontological bases of their projectibility are the causal properties and relations associated with the natural kinds themselves. Natural kinds are not just concatenations of properties but ordered hierarchies of properties, whose instances are related to one another as causes and effects in recurrent causal processes. The resulting account (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Omissions.Sara Bernstein - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (3):208-218.
    Omissions – any events, actions, or things that do not occur – are central to numerous debates in causation and ethics. This article surveys views on what omissions are, whether they are causally efficacious, and how they ground moral responsibility.
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  • Omissions as Events and Actions.Kenneth Silver - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (1):33-48.
    We take ourselves to be able to omit to perform certain actions and to be at times responsible for these omissions. Moreover, omissions seem to have effects and to be manifestations of our agency. So, it is natural to think that omissions must be events. However, very few people writing on this topic have been willing to argue that omissions are events. Such a view is taken to face three significant challenges: (i) omissions are thought to be somehow problematically negative, (...)
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  • Causal Relevance, Permissible Omissions, and Famine Relief.Chad Vance - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (1):25-47.
    Failures are sometimes, but not always, causally relevant to events. For instance, the failure of the sprinkler was causally relevant to the house fire. However, the failure of the dam upstream to break (thus inundating the house with water) was not. Similarly, failures to prevent harms are sometimes, but not always, morally wrong. For instance, failing to save a nearby drowning child is morally wrong. Yet, you are also in some sense “allowing” someone on another continent to drown right now, (...)
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  • Absences as Latent Potentialities.David Hommen - 2016 - Philosophical Papers 45 (3):401-435.
    Absences, i.e., agential omissions and forbearances, but also ‘natural’ negative states and events beyond the sphere of human agency, seem to be part and parcel of the real world. Yet, it is exactly the putative reality of absences that strikes many philosophers as utterly mysterious, if not entirely unintelligible. As a promising approach towards solving the problem of real absences, I wish to explore the idea that absences are latent potentialities. To this end, I shall investigate what potentialities are, what (...)
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