Folk intuitions of Actual Causation: A Two-Pronged Debunking Explanation

Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1323-1361 (2017)
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Abstract
How do we determine whether some candidate causal factor is an actual cause of some particular outcome? Many philosophers have wanted a view of actual causation which fits with folk intuitions of actual causation and those who wish to depart from folk intuitions of actual causation are often charged with the task of providing a plausible account of just how and where the folk have gone wrong. In this paper, I provide a range of empirical evidence aimed at showing just how and where the folk go wrong in determining whether an actual causal relation obtains. The evidence suggests that folk intuitions of actual causation are generated by two epistemically defective processes. I situate the empirical evidence within a background discussion of debunking, arguing for a two-pronged debunking explanation of folk intuitions of actual causation. I conclude that those who wish to depart from folk intuitions of actual causation should not be compelled to square their account of actual causation with the verdicts of the folk. In the dispute over actual causation, folk intuitions deserve to be rejected.
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ROSFIO-3
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First archival date: 2016-08-17
Latest version: 2 (2016-09-10)
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References found in this work BETA
What is Justified Belief.Goldman, Alvin I.
Cause and Norm.Hitchcock, Christopher & Knobe, Joshua
Contrastive Causation.Schaffer, Jonathan

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Citations of this work BETA
Folk Teleology Drives Persistence Judgments.Rose, David; Schaffer, Jonathan & Tobia, Kevin
From Punishment to Universalism.Rose, David & Nichols, Shaun

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2016-08-17

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