A Defense of Causal Invariantism

Analytic Philosophy 57 (1):49-75 (2016)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Causal contextualism holds that sentences of the form ‘c causes e’ have context-sensitive truth-conditions. We consider four arguments invoked by Jonathan Schaffer in favor of this view. First, he argues that his brand of contextualism helps solve puzzles about transitivity. Second, he contends that how one describes the relata of the causal relation sometimes affects the truth of one’s claim. Third, Schaffer invokes the phenomenon of contrastive focus to conclude that causal statements implicitly designate salient alternatives to the cause and effect. Fourth, he claims that the appropriateness of a causal statement depends on what is contextually taken for granted or made salient. We show that causal invariantism can explain these linguistic data at least as well as contextualism. We then argue that pace Schaffer, some causal sentences are always correct and can never be plausibly denied, regardless of the context.
Reprint years
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
First archival date: 2015-12-02
Latest version: 2 (2015-12-03)
View other versions
Added to PP

570 (#13,405)

6 months
29 (#29,887)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?