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Postscripts to `causation'

In Philosophical Papers Vol. Ii. Oxford University Press (1986)

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  1. 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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  • 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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  • Functional Properties Are Epiphenomenal.Matthew Rellihan - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (3):1171-1195.
    I argue for the epiphenomenality of functional properties by means of thought experiments and general principles. General principles suggest that an object’s causal powers nomologically supervene on its intrinsic properties and that its functional role does not. This implies that it is possible for an object to lose its functional role without undergoing any change to its intrinsic properties or causal powers. Nor is it difficult to conceive of such scenarios. Various thought experiments are introduced for just this purpose. But (...)
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  • The Argument for Panpsychism From Experience of Causation.Hedda Hassel Mørch - 2019 - In William Seager (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Panpsychism. Routledge.
    In recent literature, panpsychism has been defended by appeal to two main arguments: first, an argument from philosophy of mind, according to which panpsychism is the only view which successfully integrates consciousness into the physical world (Strawson 2006; Chalmers 2013); second, an argument from categorical properties, according to which panpsychism offers the only positive account of the categorical or intrinsic nature of physical reality (Seager 2006; Adams 2007; Alter and Nagasawa 2012). Historically, however, panpsychism has also been defended by appeal (...)
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  • Moderate Scientism in Philosophy.Buckwalter Wesley & John Turri - forthcoming - In Jereon de Ridder, Rik Peels & René van Woudenberg (eds.), Scientism: Prospects and Problems. Oxford University Press.
    Moderate scientism is the view that empirical science can help answer questions in nonscientific disciplines. In this paper, we evaluate moderate scientism in philosophy. We review several ways that science has contributed to research in epistemology, action theory, ethics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind. We also review several ways that science has contributed to our understanding of how philosophers make judgments and decisions. Based on this research, we conclude that the case for moderate philosophical scientism is strong: scientific (...)
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  • Exclusion Again.Karen Bennett - 2008 - In Jakob Hohwy & Jesper Kallestrup (eds.), Being Reduced: New Essays on Reduction, Explanation, and Causation. Oxford University Press. pp. 280--307.
    I think that there is an awful lot wrong with the exclusion problem. So, it seems, does just about everybody else. But of course everyone disagrees about exactly _what_ is wrong with it, and I think there is more to be said about that. So I propose to say a few more words about why the exclusion problem is not really a problem after all—at least, not for the nonreductive physicalist. The genuine _dualist_ is still in trouble. Indeed, one of (...)
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  • Lewisian-Style Counterfactual Analysis of Causation: A New Solution to the Overdetermination Problem.Dana Goswick - 2010 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 17 (4):461-476.
    Causal overdetermination – i.e. instances in which x, y, and z all occur and intuitively the occurrence of x alone is sufficient for the occurrence of z and the occurrence of y alone is sufficient for the occurrence of z – has long been considered a problem for counterfactual analyses of causation. Intuitively, we want to say both x and y caused z, but standard Lewisian counterfactual analysis yields the result that neither x nor y caused z. David Lewis, himself, (...)
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  • The Foundations of Epistemic Decision Theory.Jason Konek & Benjamin A. Levinstein - 2019 - Mind 128 (509):69-107.
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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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  • An Argument Against Causal Theories of Mental Content.Todd Buras - 2009 - American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (2):117-129.
    Some mental states are about themselves. Nothing is a cause of itself. So some mental states are not about their causes; they are about things distinct from their causes. If this argument is sound, it spells trouble for causal theories of mental content—the precise sort of trouble depending on the precise sort of causal theory. This paper shows that the argument is sound (§§1-3), and then spells out the trouble (§4).
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  • Counterfactuals, Causal Independence and Conceptual Circularity.J. Schaffer - 2004 - Analysis 64 (4):299-309.
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  • Can Structuralism Solve the ‘Access’ Problem?Fraser MacBride - 2004 - Analysis 64 (4):309–317.
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  • Explanation in Metaphysics?Johannes Persson - 2011 - Metaphysica 12 (2):165-181.
    Arguments from explanation, i.e. arguments in which the explanatory value of a hypothesis or premise is appealed to, are common in science, and explanatory considerations are becoming more popular in metaphysics. The paper begins by arguing that explanatory arguments in science—even when these are metaphysical explanations— may fail to be explanatory in metaphysics; there is a distinction to be drawn between metaphysical explanation and explanation in metaphysics. This makes it potentially problematic to deploy arguments from explanation in, for instance, metaphysics (...)
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  • Actual Causation and Compositionality.Jonathan Livengood & Justin Sytsma - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):43-69.
    Many theories of actual causation implicitly endorse the claim that if c is an actual cause of e, then either c causes e directly or every intermediary by which c indirectly causes e is itself both an actual cause of e and also an actual effect of c. We think this compositionality constraint is plausible. However, as we show, it is not always satisfied by the causal attributions ordinary people make. We conclude by considering what philosophers working on causation should (...)
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  • Grading the Quality of Evidence of Mechanisms.Stefan Dragulinescu - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Kent
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  • Causation: An Alternative.Wolfgang Spohn - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (1):93-119.
    The paper builds on the basically Humean idea that A is a cause of B iff A and B both occur, A precedes B, and A raises the metaphysical or epistemic status of B given the obtaining circumstances. It argues that in pursuit of a theory of deterministic causation this ‘status raising’ is best explicated not in regularity or counterfactual terms, but in terms of ranking functions. On this basis, it constructs a rigorous theory of deterministic causation that successfully deals (...)
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  • Lewis Causation is a Special Case of Spohn Causation.Franz Huber - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):207-210.
    This paper shows that causation in the sense of Lewis is a special case of causation in the sense of Spohn.
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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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  • New Axioms for Probability and Likelihood Ratio Measures.V. Crupi, N. Chater & K. Tentori - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):189-204.
    Probability ratio and likelihood ratio measures of inductive support and related notions have appeared as theoretical tools for probabilistic approaches in the philosophy of science, the psychology of reasoning, and artificial intelligence. In an effort of conceptual clarification, several authors have pursued axiomatic foundations for these two families of measures. Such results have been criticized, however, as relying on unduly demanding or poorly motivated mathematical assumptions. We provide two novel theorems showing that probability ratio and likelihood ratio measures can be (...)
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  • Do Causes Raise the Chances of Effects?Helen Beebee - 1998 - Analysis 58 (3):182-190.
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  • 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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  • Tropes for Causation.M. J. Garcia-Encinas - 2009 - Metaphysica 10 (2):157-174.
    Tropes, as distinguished from other possible kinds of entities such as universals, states of affairs, events and bare particulars, are best-suited to play the role of causal relata.
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  • Against Lewis's New Theory of Causation: A Story with Three Morals.Michael Strevens - 2003 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 84 (4):398–412.
    A recent paper by David Lewis, "Causation as Influence", proposes a new theory of causation. I argue against the theory, maintaining that (a) the relation asserted by a claim of the form "C was a cause of E" is distinct from the relation of causal influence, (b) the former relation depends very much, contra Lewis, on the individuation conditions for the event E, and (c) Lewis's account is unsatisfactory as an analysis of either kind of relation. The counterexamples presented here (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Counterfactuals, Causal Independence and Conceptual Circularity.Jonathan Schaffer - 2004 - Analysis 64 (4):299–308.
    David Lewis’s semantics for counterfactuals remains the standard view. Yet counter-examples have emerged, which suggest a need to invoke causal independence, and thus threaten conceptual circularity. I will review some of these counter-examples (§§1–2), illustrate how causal independence proves useful (§3), and suggest that any resulting circularity is unproblematic (§4).
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  • Joint Responsibility Without Individual Control: Applying the Explanation Hypothesis.Gunnar Björnsson - 2011 - In Jeroen van den Hoven, Ibo van de Poel & Nicole Vincent (eds.), Moral Responsibility: beyond free will and determinism. Springer.
    This paper introduces a new family of cases where agents are jointly morally responsible for outcomes over which they have no individual control, a family that resists standard ways of understanding outcome responsibility. First, the agents in these cases do not individually facilitate the outcomes and would not seem individually responsible for them if the other agents were replaced by non-agential causes. This undermines attempts to understand joint responsibility as overlapping individual responsibility; the responsibility in question is essentially joint. Second, (...)
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  • A Difference-Making Account of Causation.Wolfgang Pietsch - unknown
    A difference-making account of causality is proposed that is based on a counterfactual definition, but differs from traditional counterfactual approaches to causation in a number of crucial respects: it introduces a notion of causal irrelevance; it evaluates the truth-value of counterfactual statements in terms of difference-making; it renders causal statements background-dependent. On the basis of the fundamental notions 'causal relevance' and 'causal irrelevance', further causal concepts are defined including causal factors, alternative causes, and importantly inus-conditions. Problems and advantages of the (...)
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  • Is There High-Level Causation?Luke Glynn - manuscript
    The discovery of high-level causal relations seems a central activity of the special sciences. Those same sciences are less successful in formulating strict laws. If causation must be underwritten by strict laws, we are faced with a puzzle, which might be dubbed the 'no strict laws' problem for high-level causation. Attempts have been made to dissolve this problem by showing that leading theories of causation do not in fact require that causation be underwritten by strict laws. But this conclusion has (...)
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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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  • The Foundations of Epistemic Decision Theory.Jason Konek & Ben Levinstein - manuscript
    According to accuracy-first epistemology, accuracy is the fundamental epistemic good. Epistemic norms — Probabilism, Conditionalization, the Principal Principle, etc. — have their binding force in virtue of helping to secure this good. To make this idea precise, accuracy-firsters invoke Epistemic Decision Theory (EpDT) to determine which epistemic policies are the best means toward the end of accuracy. Hilary Greaves and others have recently challenged the tenability of this programme. Their arguments purport to show that EpDT encourages obviously epistemically irrational behavior. (...)
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  • 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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  • Common Causes and the Direction of Causation.Brad Weslake - 2005 - Minds and Machines 16 (3):239-257.
    Is the common cause principle merely one of a set of useful heuristics for discovering causal relations, or is it rather a piece of heavy duty metaphysics, capable of grounding the direction of causation itself? Since the principle was introduced in Reichenbach’s groundbreaking work The Direction of Time (1956), there have been a series of attempts to pursue the latter program—to take the probabilistic relationships constitutive of the principle of the common cause and use them to ground the direction of (...)
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  • Causalidade.Eduardo Castro - 2014 - Compêndio Em Linha de Problemas de Filosofia Ananlítica.
    State of art paper on the topic causation, around the problem of the nature of causation. Central theories of contemporary philosophical literature are discussed and analysed, namely, regularity theories of Hume and Mackie, counterfactual theories of Lewis, probabilistic theories of Reichenbach, Lewis and Menzies and causal processes theories of Salmon and Dowe.
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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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  • 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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  • Does the Counterfactual Theory of Explanation Apply to Non-Causal Explanations in Metaphysics?Alexander Reutlinger - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science:1-18.
    In the recent philosophy of explanation, a growing attention to and discussion of non-causal explanations has emerged, as there seem to be compelling examples of non-causal explanations in the sciences, in pure mathematics, and in metaphysics. I defend the claim that the counterfactual theory of explanation (CTE) captures the explanatory character of both non-causal scientific and metaphysical explanations. According to the CTE, scientific and metaphysical explanations are explanatory by virtue of revealing counterfactual dependencies between the explanandum and the explanans. I (...)
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  • XIII—Hearing Properties, Effects or Parts?Casey O'callaghan - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (3pt3):375-405.
    Sounds are audible, and sound sources are audible. What is the audible relation between audible sounds and audible sources? Common talk and philosophy suggest three candidates. The first is that sounds audibly are properties instantiated by their sources. I argue that sounds are audible individuals and thus are not audibly instantiated by audible sources. The second is that sounds audibly are effects of their sources. I argue that auditory experience presents no compelling evidence that sounds audibly are causally related to (...)
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  • Imprecise Probability and Chance.Anthony Peressini - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (3):561-586.
    Understanding probabilities as something other than point values has often been motivated by the need to find more realistic models for degree of belief, and in particular the idea that degree of belief should have an objective basis in “statistical knowledge of the world.” I offer here another motivation growing out of efforts to understand how chance evolves as a function of time. If the world is “chancy” in that there are non-trivial, objective, physical probabilities at the macro-level, then the (...)
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  • The Intentional Versus the Propositional Structure of Contents.Wolfgang Spohn - unknown
    The paper argues that the objects of belief should not be conceived as sets of possible worlds or propositions of set of centered possible worlds or egocentric propositions (this is the propositional conception), but rather as sets of pairs consisting of a centered world and a sequence of objects (this is the intentional conception of the objects of belief). The paper explains the deep significance of this thesis for the framework of two-dimensional semantics, indeed for any framework trying to adequately (...)
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  • Causation, Coherence and Concepts : A Collection of Essays.Wolfgang Spohn - unknown
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  • Explanation Beyond Causation? New Directions in the Philosophy of Scientific Explanation.Alexander Reutlinger - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (2):e12395.
    In this paper, I aim to provide access to the current debate on non-causal explanations in philosophy of science. I will first present examples of non-causal explanations in the sciences. Then, I will outline three alternative approaches to non-causal explanations – that is, causal reductionism, pluralism, and monism – and, corresponding to these three approaches, different strategies for distinguishing between causal and non-causal explanation. Finally, I will raise questions for future research on non-causal explanations.
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  • Mackie Remixed.Michael Strevens - 2007 - In J. K. Campbell, M. O'Rourke & H. S. Silverstein (eds.), Causation and Explanation. MIT Press. pp. 4--93.
    Cases of overdetermination or preemption continue to play an important role in the debate about the proper interpretation of causal claims of the form "C was a cause of E". I argue that the best treatment of preemption cases is given by Mackie's venerable INUS account of causal claims. The Mackie account suffers, however, from problems of its own. Inspired by its ability to handle preemption, I propose a dramatic revision to the Mackie account – one that Mackie himself would (...)
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  • Interventionist Causal Exclusion and Non‐Reductive Physicalism.Michael Baumgartner - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (2):161-178.
    The first part of this paper presents an argument showing that the currently most highly acclaimed interventionist theory of causation, i.e. the one advanced by Woodward, excludes supervening macro properties from having a causal influence on effects of their micro supervenience bases. Moreover, this interventionist exclusion argument is demonstrated to rest on weaker premises than classical exclusion arguments. The second part then discusses a weakening of interventionism that Woodward suggests. This weakened version of interventionism turns out either to be inapplicable (...)
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  • A Generalized Probabilistic Theory of Causal Relevance.Christopher Read Hitchcock - 1993 - Synthese 97 (3):335 - 364.
    I advance a new theory of causal relevance, according to which causal claims convey information about conditional probability functions. This theory is motivated by the problem of disjunctive factors, which haunts existing probabilistic theories of causation. After some introductory remarks, I present in Section 3 a sketch of Eells's (1991) probabilistic theory of causation, which provides the framework for much of the discussion. Section 4 explains how the problem of disjunctive factors arises within this framework. After rejecting three proposed solutions, (...)
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  • An Objective Counterfactual Theory of Information.Jonathan Cohen & Aaron Meskin - 2006 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (3):333 – 352.
    We offer a novel theory of information that differs from traditional accounts in two respects: (i) it explains information in terms of counterfactuals rather than conditional probabilities, and (ii) it does not make essential reference to doxastic states of subjects, and consequently allows for the sort of objective, reductive explanations of various notions in epistemology and philosophy of mind that many have wanted from an account of information.
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  • Minimal Anti-Humeanism.Harjit Bhogal - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):447-460.
    There is a tension in our theorizing about laws of nature: our practice of using and reasoning with laws of nature suggests that laws are universal generalizations, but if laws are universal generalizations then we face the problem of explanatory circularity. In this paper I elucidate this tension and show how it motivates a view of laws that I call Minimal Anti-Humeanism. This view says that the laws are the universal generalizations that are not grounded in their instances. I argue (...)
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  • Degrees of Influence and the Problem of Pre-Emption.Cei Maslen - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (4):577 – 594.
    This paper is an investigation into the notion of degree of influence, and its application to the problem of pre-emption. In 'Causation as Influence', Lewis presented a new account of causation under determinism and some new observations on the problem of pre-emption. He claimed that, in cases of pre-emption, the pre-empting cause is much more of a cause than its pre-empted alternative; it has much more influence. I begin by trying to make sense of the notion of degree of influence. (...)
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