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  1. An Improved Probabilistic Account of Counterfactual Reasoning.Christopher G. Lucas & Charles Kemp - 2015 - Psychological Review 122 (4):700-734.
    When people want to identify the causes of an event, assign credit or blame, or learn from their mistakes, they often reflect on how things could have gone differently. In this kind of reasoning, one considers a counterfactual world in which some events are different from their real-world counterparts and considers what else would have changed. Researchers have recently proposed several probabilistic models that aim to capture how people do (or should) reason about counterfactuals. We present a new model and (...)
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  • Thought Experiments and Actual Causation.Margherita Benzi - 2019 - Topoi 38 (4):835-843.
    Philosophical works on actual causation make wide use of thought experiments. The principal aim of this paper is to show how thought experiments are used in the contemporary debate over actual causation and to discuss their role in relation to formal approaches in terms of causal models. I claim that a recourse to thought experiments is not something old fashioned or superseded by abstract models, but it is useful to interpret abstract models themselves and to use our intuitions to judge (...)
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  • On the Ramsey Test Analysis of ‘Because’.Holger Andreas & Mario Günther - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (6):1229-1262.
    The well-known formal semantics of conditionals due to Stalnaker Studies in logical theory, Blackwell, Oxford, 1968), Lewis, and Gärdenfors The logic and 1140 epistemology of scientific change, North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1978, Knowledge in flux, MIT Press, Cambridge, 1988) all fail to distinguish between trivially and nontrivially true indicative conditionals. This problem has been addressed by Rott :345–370, 1986) in terms of a strengthened Ramsey Test. In this paper, we refine Rott’s strengthened Ramsey Test and the corresponding analysis of explanatory relations. We (...)
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  • Degree of Explanation.Robert Northcott - 2012 - Synthese 190 (15):3087-3105.
    Partial explanations are everywhere. That is, explanations citing causes that explain some but not all of an effect are ubiquitous across science, and these in turn rely on the notion of degree of explanation. I argue that current accounts are seriously deficient. In particular, they do not incorporate adequately the way in which a cause’s explanatory importance varies with choice of explanandum. Using influential recent contrastive theories, I develop quantitative definitions that remedy this lacuna, and relate it to existing measures (...)
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  • Structural Equations and Causation.N. Hall - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (1):109 - 136.
    Structural equations have become increasingly popular in recent years as tools for understanding causation. But standard structural equations approaches to causation face deep problems. The most philosophically interesting of these consists in their failure to incorporate a distinction between default states of an object or system, and deviations therefrom. Exploring this problem, and how to fix it, helps to illuminate the central role this distinction plays in our causal thinking.
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  • Causal Relata: Tokens, Types, or Variables?Daniel Murray Hausman - 2005 - Erkenntnis 63 (1):33-54.
    The literature on causation distinguishes between causal claims relating properties or types and causal claims relating individuals or tokens. Many authors maintain that corresponding to these two kinds of causal claims are two different kinds of causal relations. Whether to regard causal relations among variables as yet another variety of causation is also controversial. This essay maintains that causal relations obtain among tokens and that type causal claims are generalizations concerning causal relations among these tokens.
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  • Where’s the Biff?Toby Handfield, Charles R. Twardy, Kevin B. Korb & Graham Oppy - 2008 - Erkenntnis 68 (2):149-68.
    This paper presents an attempt to integrate theories of causal processes—of the kind developed by Wesley Salmon and Phil Dowe—into a theory of causal models using Bayesian networks. We suggest that arcs in causal models must correspond to possible causal processes. Moreover, we suggest that when processes are rendered physically impossible by what occurs on distinct paths, the original model must be restricted by removing the relevant arc. These two techniques suffice to explain cases of late preëmption and other cases (...)
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  • Causes of Causes.Alex Broadbent - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (3):457-476.
    When is a cause of a cause of an effect also a cause of that effect? The right answer is either Sometimes or Always . In favour of Always , transitivity is considered by some to be necessary for distinguishing causes from redundant non-causal events. Moreover transitivity may be motivated by an interest in an unselective notion of causation, untroubled by principles of invidious discrimination. And causal relations appear to add up like transitive relations, so that the obtaining of the (...)
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  • Structural Equations and Causation: Six Counterexamples.Christopher Hitchcock - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 144 (3):391-401.
    Hall [(2007), Philosophical Studies, 132, 109–136] offers a critique of structural equations accounts of actual causation, and then offers a new theory of his own. In this paper, I respond to Hall’s critique, and present some counterexamples to his new theory. These counterexamples are then diagnosed.
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  • Grounding in the Image of Causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):49-100.
    Grounding is often glossed as metaphysical causation, yet no current theory of grounding looks remotely like a plausible treatment of causation. I propose to take the analogy between grounding and causation seriously, by providing an account of grounding in the image of causation, on the template of structural equation models for causation.
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  • Events and Times: A Case Study in Means-Ends Metaphysics.Christopher Hitchcock - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (1):79-96.
    There is a tradition, tracing back to Kant, of recasting metaphysical questions as questions about the utility of a conceptual scheme, linguistic framework, or methodological rule for achieving some particular end. Following in this tradition, I propose a ‘means-ends metaphysics ’, in which one rigorously demonstrates the suitability of some conceptual framework for achieving a specified goal. I illustrate this approach using a debate about the nature of events. Specifically, the question is whether the time at which an event occurs (...)
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  • Causal Foundationalism, Physical Causation, and Difference-Making.Luke Glynn - 2013 - Synthese 190 (6):1017-1037.
    An influential tradition in the philosophy of causation has it that all token causal facts are, or are reducible to, facts about difference-making. Challenges to this tradition have typically focused on pre-emption cases, in which a cause apparently fails to make a difference to its effect. However, a novel challenge to the difference-making approach has recently been issued by Alyssa Ney. Ney defends causal foundationalism, which she characterizes as the thesis that facts about difference-making depend upon facts about physical causation. (...)
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  • Modelling Last-Act Attempted Crime in Criminal Law.Jiraporn Pooksook, Phan Minh Dung, Ken Satoh & Giovanni Sartor - 2019 - Journal of Applied Non-Classical Logics 29 (4):327-357.
    ABSTRACTIn the court of law, a person can be punished for attempting to commit a crime. An open issue in the study of Artificial Intelligence and Law is whether the law of attempts could be formall...
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  • Causation, Pluralism and Responsibility.Francis Longworth - 2006 - Philosophica 77.
    Counterfactual theories of causation have had difficulty in delivering the intuitively correct verdicts for cases of causation involving preemption, without generating further counterexamples. Hall has offered a pluralistic theory of causation, according to which there are two concepts of causation: counterfactual dependence and production. Hall’s theory does deliver the correct verdicts for many of the problematic kinds of preemption. It also deals successfully with cases of causation by omission, which have proved stubborn counterexamples to physical process theories of causation. Hall’s (...)
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  • Cause and Norm.Christopher Hitchcock & Joshua Knobe - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (11):587-612.
    Much of the philosophical literature on causation has focused on the concept of actual causation, sometimes called token causation. In particular, it is this notion of actual causation that many philosophical theories of causation have attempted to capture.2 In this paper, we address the question: what purpose does this concept serve? As we shall see in the next section, one does not need this concept for purposes of prediction or rational deliberation. What then could the purpose be? We will argue (...)
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  • The Psychological Representation of Modality.Jonathan Phillips & Joshua Knobe - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (1):1-.
    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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  • Indeterminacy in Causation.Eric Swanson - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268):606–624.
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  • 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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  • Causal Analysis of an Agent-Based Model of Human Behaviour.Marcel Kvassay, Peter Krammer, Ladislav Hluchý & Bernhard Schneider - 2017 - Complexity 2017:1-18.
    This article investigates causal relationships leading to emergence in an agent-based model of human behaviour. A new method based on nonlinear structural causality is formulated and practically demonstrated. The method is based on the concept of a causal partition of a model variable which quantifies the contribution of various factors to its numerical value. Causal partitions make it possible to judge the relative importance of contributing factors over crucial early periods in which the emergent behaviour of a system begins to (...)
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  • Experimental Explication.Jonah N. Schupbach - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (3):672-710.
    Two recently popular metaphilosophical movements, formal philosophy and experimental philosophy, promote what seem to be conflicting methodologies. Nonetheless, I argue that the two can be mutually supportive. I propose an experimentally-informed variation on explication, a powerful formal philosophical tool introduced by Carnap. The resulting method, which I call “experimental explication,” provides the formalist with a means of responding to explication's gravest criticism. Moreover, this method introduces a philosophically salient, positive role for survey-style experiments while steering clear of several objections that (...)
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  • A Proposed Probabilistic Extension of the Halpern and Pearl Definition of ‘Actual Cause’.Luke Fenton-Glynn - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (4):1061-1164.
    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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  • Causal Modeling, Reversibility, and Logics of Counterfactuals.Wai Yin Lam - 2012 - Dissertation, Lingnan University
    This thesis studies Judea Pearl’s logic of counterfactuals derived from the causal modeling framework, in comparison to the influential Stanlnaker-Lewis counterfactual logics. My study focuses on a characteristic principle in Pearl’s logic, named reversibility. The principle, as Pearl pointed out, goes beyond Lewis’s logic. Indeed, it also goes beyond the stronger logic of Stanlnaker, which is more analogous to Pearl’s logic. The first result of this thesis is an extension of Stanlnaker’s logic incorporating reversibility. It will be observed that the (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Preemption in Singular Causation Judgments: A Computational Model.Simon Stephan & Michael R. Waldmann - 2018 - Topics in Cognitive Science 10 (1):242-257.
    Causal queries about singular cases are ubiquitous, yet the question of how we assess whether a particular outcome was actually caused by a specific potential cause turns out to be difficult to answer. Relying on the causal power framework, Cheng and Novick () proposed a model of causal attribution intended to help answer this question. We challenge this model, both conceptually and empirically. We argue that the central problem of this model is that it treats causal powers that are probabilistically (...)
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  • Processes, Pre-Emption and Further Problems.Andreas Hüttemann - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    In this paper I will argue that what makes our ordinary judgements about token causation (‘actual causation’) true can be explicated in terms of interferences into quasi-inertial processes. These interferences and quasi-inertial processes can in turn be fully explicated in scientific terms. In this sense the account presented here is reductive. I will furthermore argue that this version of a process-theory of causation can deal with the traditional problems that process theories have to face, such as the problem of misconnection (...)
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  • The Logic of Counterfactuals in Causal Inference.Judea Pearl - manuscript
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  • 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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  • A Probabilistic Analysis of Causation.Luke Glynn - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (2):343-392.
    The starting point in the development of probabilistic analyses of token causation has usually been the naïve intuition that, in some relevant sense, a cause raises the probability of its effect. But there are well-known examples both of non-probability-raising causation and of probability-raising non-causation. Sophisticated extant probabilistic analyses treat many such cases correctly, but only at the cost of excluding the possibilities of direct non-probability-raising causation, failures of causal transitivity, action-at-a-distance, prevention, and causation by absence and omission. I show that (...)
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  • Models, Mechanisms, and Coherence.Matteo Colombo, Stephan Hartmann & Robert van Iersel - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (1):181-212.
    Life-science phenomena are often explained by specifying the mechanisms that bring them about. The new mechanistic philosophers have done much to substantiate this claim and to provide us with a better understanding of what mechanisms are and how they explain. Although there is disagreement among current mechanists on various issues, they share a common core position and a seeming commitment to some form of scientific realism. But is such a commitment necessary? Is it the best way to go about mechanistic (...)
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  • Two Causal Theories of Counterfactual Conditionals.Lance J. Rips - 2010 - Cognitive Science 34 (2):175-221.
    Bayes nets are formal representations of causal systems that many psychologists have claimed as plausible mental representations. One purported advantage of Bayes nets is that they may provide a theory of counterfactual conditionals, such as If Calvin had been at the party, Miriam would have left early. This article compares two proposed Bayes net theories as models of people's understanding of counterfactuals. Experiments 1-3 show that neither theory makes correct predictions about backtracking counterfactuals (in which the event of the if-clause (...)
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  • Restricted Causal Relevance.Anders Strand & Gry Oftedal - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (2):431-457.
    Causal selection and priority are at the heart of discussions of the causal parity thesis, which says that all causes of a given effect are on a par, and that any justified priority assigned to a given cause results from causal explanatory interests. In theories of causation that provide necessary and sufficient conditions for the truth of causal claims, status as cause is an either/or issue: either a given cause satisfies the conditions or it does not. Consequently, assessments of causal (...)
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  • Assertions of Clarity & Raising Awareness.Phil Crone - 2019 - Journal of Semantics 36 (1):53-97.
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  • Graded Causation and Defaults.Joseph Y. Halpern & Christopher Hitchcock - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):413-457.
    Recent work in psychology and experimental philosophy has shown that judgments of actual causation are often influenced by consideration of defaults, typicality, and normality. A number of philosophers and computer scientists have also suggested that an appeal to such factors can help deal with problems facing existing accounts of actual causation. This article develops a flexible formal framework for incorporating defaults, typicality, and normality into an account of actual causation. The resulting account takes actual causation to be both graded and (...)
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  • Structural Equations and Beyond.Franz Huber - 2013 - Review of Symbolic Logic 6 (4):709-732.
    Recent accounts of actual causation are stated in terms of extended causal models. These extended causal models contain two elements representing two seemingly distinct modalities. The first element are structural equations which represent the or mechanisms of the model, just as ordinary causal models do. The second element are ranking functions which represent normality or typicality. The aim of this paper is to show that these two modalities can be unified. I do so by formulating two constraints under which extended (...)
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  • Causal-Explanatory Pluralism: How Intentions, Functions, and Mechanisms Influence Causal Ascriptions.Tania Lombrozo - 2010 - Cognitive Psychology 61 (4):303-332.
    Both philosophers and psychologists have argued for the existence of distinct kinds of explanations, including teleological explanations that cite functions or goals, and mechanistic explanations that cite causal mechanisms. Theories of causation, in contrast, have generally been unitary, with dominant theories focusing either on counterfactual dependence or on physical connections. This paper argues that both approaches to causation are psychologically real, with different modes of explanation promoting judgments more or less consistent with each approach. Two sets of experiments isolate the (...)
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  • Foundations of a Probabilistic Theory of Causal Strength.Jan Sprenger - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (3):371-398.
    This paper develops axiomatic foundations for a probabilistic-interventionist theory of causal strength. Transferring methods from Bayesian confirmation theory, I proceed in three steps: I develop a framework for defining and comparing measures of causal strength; I argue that no single measure can satisfy all natural constraints; I prove two representation theorems for popular measures of causal strength: Pearl's causal effect measure and Eells' difference measure. In other words, I demonstrate these two measures can be derived from a set of plausible (...)
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  • Causal Responsibility and Counterfactuals.David A. Lagnado, Tobias Gerstenberg & Ro'I. Zultan - 2013 - Cognitive Science 37 (6):1036-1073.
    How do people attribute responsibility in situations where the contributions of multiple agents combine to produce a joint outcome? The prevalence of over-determination in such cases makes this a difficult problem for counterfactual theories of causal responsibility. In this article, we explore a general framework for assigning responsibility in multiple agent contexts. We draw on the structural model account of actual causation (e.g., Halpern & Pearl, 2005) and its extension to responsibility judgments (Chockler & Halpern, 2004). We review the main (...)
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  • The Supposed Competition Between Theories of Human Causal Inference.David Danks - 2005 - Philosophical Psychology 18 (2):259 – 272.
    Newsome ((2003). The debate between current versions of covariation and mechanism approaches to causal inference. Philosophical Psychology, 16, 87-107.) recently published a critical review of psychological theories of human causal inference. In that review, he characterized covariation and mechanism theories, the two dominant theory types, as competing, and offered possible ways to integrate them. I argue that Newsome has misunderstood the theoretical landscape, and that covariation and mechanism theories do not directly conflict. Rather, they rely on distinct sets of reliable (...)
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  • An Anatomy of Moral Responsibility.M. Braham & M. van Hees - 2012 - Mind 121 (483):601-634.
    This paper examines the structure of moral responsibility for outcomes. A central feature of the analysis is a condition that we term the ‘avoidance potential’, which gives precision to the idea that moral responsibility implies a reasonable demand that an agent should have acted otherwise. We show how our theory can allocate moral responsibility to individuals in complex collective action problems, an issue that sometimes goes by the name of ‘the problem of many hands’. We also show how it allocates (...)
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  • Normality and Actual Causal Strength.Thomas F. Icard, Jonathan F. 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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  • A Proposed Probabilistic Extension of the Halpern and Pearl Definition of ‘Actual Cause’.Luke Fenton-Glynn - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (4):1061-1124.
    ABSTRACT 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. 1Introduction 2Preemption 3Structural Equation Models 4The Halpern and Pearl Definition of ‘Actual Cause’ 5Preemption Again 6The Probabilistic Case 7Probabilistic Causal Models 8A Proposed Probabilistic Extension of Halpern and Pearl’s Definition 9Twardy and Korb’s Account 10Probabilistic (...)
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  • Review of Woodward, Making Things Happen. [REVIEW]Michael Strevens - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233–249.
    The concept of causation plays a central role in many philosophical theories, and yet no account of causation has gained widespread acceptance among those who have investigated its foundations. Theories based on laws, counterfactuals, physical processes, and probabilistic dependence and independence relations (the list is by no means exhaustive) have all received detailed treatment in recent years---{}and, while no account has been entirely successful, it is generally agreed that the concept has been greatly clari{}ed by the attempts. In this magni{}cent (...)
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  • Comparative Process Tracing.Hannu Ruonavaara & Bo Bengtsson - 2017 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 47 (1):44-66.
    This article introduces comparative process tracing as a two-step methodological approach that combines theory, chronology, and comparison. For each studied case, the processes leading “from A to B” are reconstructed and analyzed in terms of ideal-type social mechanisms and then compared by making use of the identified mechanisms and ideal-type periodization. Central elements of CPT are path dependence, critical junctures and focal points, social mechanisms, context, periodization, and counterfactual analysis. The CPT approach is described, discussed, and compared with more formal (...)
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  • Appropriate Causal Models and the Stability of Causation.Joseph Y. Halpern - 2016 - Review of Symbolic Logic 9 (1):76-102.
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Agency as Difference-Making: Causal Foundations of Moral Responsibility.Johannes Himmelreich - 2015 - Dissertation, London School of Economics and Political Science
    We are responsible for some things but not for others. In this thesis, I investigate what it takes for an entity to be responsible for something. This question has two components: agents and actions. I argue for a permissive view about agents. Entities such as groups or artificially intelligent systems may be agents in the sense required for responsibility. With respect to actions, I argue for a causal view. The relation in virtue of which agents are responsible for actions is (...)
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  • Compact Representations of Extended Causal Models.Joseph Y. Halpern & Christopher Hitchcock - 2013 - Cognitive Science 37 (6):986-1010.
    Judea Pearl (2000) was the first to propose a definition of actual causation using causal models. A number of authors have suggested that an adequate account of actual causation must appeal not only to causal structure but also to considerations of normality. In Halpern and Hitchcock (2011), we offer a definition of actual causation using extended causal models, which include information about both causal structure and normality. Extended causal models are potentially very complex. In this study, we show how it (...)
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  • A Regularity Theoretic Approach to Actual Causation.Michael Baumgartner - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (1):85-109.
    The majority of the currently flourishing theories of actual causation are located in a broadly counterfactual framework that draws on structural equations. In order to account for cases of symmetric overdeterminiation and preemption, these theories resort to rather intricate analytical tools, most of all, to what Hitchcock has labeled explicitly nonforetracking counterfactuals. This paper introduces a regularity theoretic approach to actual causation that only employs material conditionals, standard Boolean minimization procedures, and a stability condition that regulates the behavior of causal (...)
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