Strevens's Counterexample to Lewis's "Causation as Influence," and Degrees of Causation

Dialectica (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Sungho Choi has criticised Michael Strevens’s counterexample to David Lewis’s final theory of ‘token’ causation, causation as ‘influence’. I argue that, even if Choi’s points are correct, Strevens’s counterexample remains useful in revealing a shortcoming of Lewis’s theory. This shortcoming is that Lewis’s theory does not properly account for degrees of causation. That is, even if Choi’s points are correct, Lewis’s theory does not capture an intuition we have about the comparative causal statuses of those events involved in Strevens’s counterexample (we might, for example, intuit that Sylvie’s ball-firing is as much/more/less a cause of the jar’s shattering as/than is Bruno’s ball-firing).

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Joshua Goh
University College London

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