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Counterfactuals and counterparts: defending a neo-Humean theory of causation

Dissertation, Macquarie University and University of Glasgow (2015)

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  1. A Tale of Two Effects.Christopher Hitchcock - 2001 - Philosophical Review 110 (3):361-396.
    In recent years, there has been a philosophical cottage industry producing arguments that our concept of causation is not univocal: that there are in fact two concepts of causation, corresponding to distinct species of causal relation. Papers written in this tradition have borne titles like “Two Concepts of Cause” and “Two Concepts of Causation”. With due apologies to Charles Dickens, I hereby make my own contribution to this genre.
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  • A Tale of Two Effects.Christopher Hitchcock - 2001 - Philosophical Review 110 (3):361.
    In recent years, there has been a philosophical cottage industry producing arguments that our concept of causation is not univocal: that there are in fact two concepts of causation, corresponding to distinct species of causal relation. Papers written in this tradition have borne titles like “Two Concepts of Cause” and “Two Concepts of Causation”. With due apologies to Charles Dickens, I hereby make my own contribution to this genre.
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  • Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    Woodward's long awaited book is an attempt to construct a comprehensive account of causation explanation that applies to a wide variety of causal and explanatory claims in different areas of science and everyday life. The book engages some of the relevant literature from other disciplines, as Woodward weaves together examples, counterexamples, criticisms, defenses, objections, and replies into a convincing defense of the core of his theory, which is that we can analyze causation by appeal to the notion of manipulation.
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  • Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Christopher Hitchcock & Judea Pearl - 2001 - Philosophical Review 110 (4):639.
    Judea Pearl has been at the forefront of research in the burgeoning field of causal modeling, and Causality is the culmination of his work over the last dozen or so years. For philosophers of science with a serious interest in causal modeling, Causality is simply mandatory reading. Chapter 2, in particular, addresses many of the issues familiar from works such as Causation, Prediction and Search by Peter Spirtes, Clark Glymour, and Richard Scheines. But philosophers with a more general interest in (...)
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  • Essence and Modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16.
    It is my aim in this paper to show that the contemporary assimilation of essence to modality is fundamentally misguided and that, as a consequence, the corresponding conception of metaphysics should be given up. It is not my view that the modal account fails to capture anything which might reasonably be called a concept of essence. My point, rather, is that the notion of essence which is of central importance to the metaphysics of identity is not to be understood in (...)
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  • A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
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  • Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
    What is the relation between a reason and an action when the reason explains the action by giving the agent's reason for doing what he did? We may call such explanations rationalizations, and say that the reason rationalizes the action. In this paper I want to defend the ancient - and common-sense - position that rationalization is a species of ordinary causal explanation. The defense no doubt requires some redeployment, but not more or less complete abandonment of the position, as (...)
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  • On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    This book is a defense of modal realism; the thesis that our world is but one of a plurality of worlds, and that the individuals that inhabit our world are only a few out of all the inhabitants of all the worlds. Lewis argues that the philosophical utility of modal realism is a good reason for believing that it is true.
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  • Studies in the Way of Words.H. P. Grice - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
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  • Postscripts to `Causation'.David Lewis - 1986 - In Philosophical Papers Vol. Ii. Oxford University Press.
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  • Trumping Preemption.Jonathan Schaffer - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):165-181.
    Extant counterfactual accounts of causation (CACs) still cannot handle preemptive causation. I describe a new variety of preemption, defend its possibility, and use it to show the inadequacy of extant CACs. Imagine that it is a law of nature that the first spell cast on a given day match the enchantment that midnight.
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  • How to Be Responsible for Something Without Causing It.Carolina Sartorio - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):315–336.
    What is the relationship between moral responsibility and causation? Plainly, we are not morally responsible for everything that we cause. For we cause a multitude of things, including things that we couldn't possibly foresee we would cause and with respect to which we cannot be assessed morally. Thus, it is clear that causing something does not entail being morally responsible for it. But, does the converse entailment hold? Does moral responsibility require causation? Intuitively, it does: intuitively, we can only be (...)
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  • Redundant Causation.Michael McDermott - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (4):523-544.
    I propose an amendment of Lewis's counterfactual analysis of causation, designed to overcome some difficulties concerning redundant causation.
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  • A Theory of Conditionals.Robert C. Stalnaker - 1968 - In Nicholas Rescher (ed.), Studies in Logical Theory (American Philosophical Quarterly Monographs 2). Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 98-112.
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  • Review: The Grand Leap; Reviewed Work: Causation, Prediction, and Search. [REVIEW]Peter Spirtes, Clark Glymour & Richard Scheines - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):113-123.
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  • The Counterfactual Analysis of Cause.Igal Kvart - 2001 - Synthese 127 (3):389-427.
    David Lewis’s counterfactual analysis of cause consisted of the counterfactual conditional closed under transitivity.2 Namely, a sufficient condition for A’s being a cause of C is that ∼A > ∼C be true; and a necessary as well as sufficient condition is that there be a series of true counterfactuals ∼A > ∼E1, ∼E1 > ∼E2, . . . , ∼En >∼C (n > 0).
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  • Contrastive Causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (3):327-358.
    Causation is widely assumed to be a binary relation: c causes e. I will argue that causation is a quaternary, contrastive relation: c rather than C* causes e rather than E*, where C* and E* are nonempty sets of contrast events. Or at least, I will argue that treating causation as contrastive helps resolve some paradoxes.
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  • Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):201-202.
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  • Causation.D. Lewis - 1973 - In Philosophical Papers Ii. Oxford University Press. pp. 159-213.
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  • The Folk Probably Don’T Think What You Think They Think: Experiments on Causation by Absence.Jonathan Livengood & Edouard Machery - 2007 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):107–127.
    Folk theories—untutored people’s (often implicit) theories about various features of the world—have been fashionable objects of inquiry in psychology for almost two decades now (e.g., Hirschfeld and Gelman 1994), and more recently they have been of interest in experimental philosophy (Nichols 2004). Folk theories of psy- chology, physics, biology, and ethics have all come under investigation. Folk meta- physics, however, has not been as extensively studied. That so little is known about folk metaphysics is unfortunate for (at least) two reasons. (...)
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  • Trumping the Causal Influence Account of Causation.Jim Stone - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (2):153 - 160.
    Here is a simple counterexample to David Lewis’s causal influence account of causation, one that is especially illuminating due to its connection to what Lewis himself writes: it is a variant of his trumping example.
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  • The Oxford Handbook of Causation.Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Peter Menzies (eds.) - 2009 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Causation is a central topic in many areas of philosophy. In metaphysics, philosophers want to know what causation is, and how it is related to laws of nature, probability, action, and freedom of the will. In epistemology, philosophers investigate how causal claims can be inferred from statistical data, and how causation is related to perception, knowledge and explanation. In the philosophy of mind, philosophers want to know whether and how the mind can be said to have causal efficacy, and in (...)
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  • Mental Causation.Stephen Yablo - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (2):245-280.
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  • A Counterfactual Theory of Causal Explanation.David-Hillel Ruben - 1994 - Noûs 28 (4):465-481.
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  • Against Causal Reductionism.Peter Menzies - 1988 - Mind 97 (388):551-574.
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  • Probabilistic Causation and the Pre-Emption Problem.Peter Menzies - 1996 - Mind 105 (417):85-117.
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  • Causation By Omission: A Dilemma.Sarah McGrath - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 123 (1-2):125-148.
    Some omissions seem to be causes. For example, suppose Barry promises to water Alice’s plant, doesn’t water it, and that the plant then dries up and dies. Barry’s not watering the plant – his omitting to water the plant – caused its death. But there is reason to believe that if omissions are ever causes, then there is far more causation by omission than we ordinarily think. In other words, there is reason to think the following thesis true.
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  • Counterfactual Dependence and Time’s Arrow.David Lewis - 1979 - Noûs 13 (4):455-476.
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  • Causation by Disconnection.Jonathan Schaffer - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (2):285-300.
    The physical and/or intrinsic connection approach to causation has become prominent in the recent literature, with Salmon, Dowe, Menzies, and Armstrong among its leading proponents. I show that there is a type of causation, causation by disconnection, with no physical or intrinsic connection between cause and effect. Only Hume-style conditions approaches and hybrid conditions-connections approaches appear to be able to handle causation by disconnection. Some Hume-style, extrinsic, absence-relating, necessary and/or sufficient condition component of the causal relation proves to be needed.
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  • Probabilistic Causation and Causal Processes: A Critique of Lewis.Peter Menzies - 1989 - Philosophy of Science 56 (4):642-663.
    This paper examines a promising probabilistic theory of singular causation developed by David Lewis. I argue that Lewis' theory must be made more sophisticated to deal with certain counterexamples involving pre-emption. These counterexamples appear to show that in the usual case singular causation requires an unbroken causal process to link cause with effect. I propose a new probabilistic account of singular causation, within the framework developed by Lewis, which captures this intuition.
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  • Lewis’s ’Causation as Influence’.Igal Kvart - 2001 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (3):409 – 421.
    In his ‘Causation as Influence’,1 David Lewis proposed a counterfactual theory of cause which was designed to improve on his previous account.2 Here I offer counter-examples to this new account, involving early preemption and late preemption, and a revised account, which is no longer an influence theory, that handles those counter-examples.
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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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  • Preemptive Prevention.John Collins - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):223.
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  • Causation and the Price of Transitivity.Ned Hall - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):198.
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  • Causation as Influence.David Lewis - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):182-197.
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  • Aspect Causation.L. A. Paul - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):235.
    A theory of the causal relate as aspects or property instances is developed. A supposed problem for transitivity is assessed and then resolved with aspects as the causal relata.
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  • Trumping Preemption.Jonathan Schaffer - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):165.
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  • Causation and Misconnections.Phil Dowe - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):926-931.
    In this paper I show how the conserved quantity theory, or more generally the process theory of Wesley Salmon and myself, provides a sufficient condition in an analysis of causation. To do so I will show how it handles the problem of alleged 'misconnections'. I show what the conserved quantity theory says about such cases, and why intuitions are not to be taken as sacrosanct.
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  • The Role of Contrast in Causal and Explanatory Claims.Christopher Hitchcock - 1996 - Synthese 107 (3):395 - 419.
    Following Dretske (1977), there has been a considerable body of literature on the role of contrastive stress in causal claims. Following van Fraassen (1980), there has been a considerable body of literature on the role of contrastive stress in explanations and explanation-requesting why-questions. Amazingly, the two bodies of literature have remained almost entirely disjoint. With an understanding of the contrastive nature of ordinary causal claims, and of the linguistic roles of contrastive stress, it is possible to provide a unified account (...)
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  • Propensity Trajectories, Preemption, and the Identity of Events.Ellery Eells - 2002 - Synthese 132 (1-2):119 - 141.
    I explore the problem of ``probabilistic causal preemption'' in the context of a``propensity trajectory'' theory of singular probabilistic causation. This involvesa particular conception of events and a substantive thesis concerning events soconceived.
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  • Causal Relata.Douglas Ehring - 1987 - Synthese 73 (2):319 - 328.
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  • The Facts of Causation.D. H. Mellor - 1995 - Routledge.
    Everything we do relies on causation. We eat and drink because this causes us to stay alive. Courts tell us who causes crimes, criminology tell us what causes people to commit them. D.H. Mellor shows us that to understand the world and our lives we must understand causation. _The Facts of Causation_, now available in paperback, is essential reading for students and for anyone interested in reading one of the ground-breaking theories in metaphysics. We cannot understand the world and our (...)
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  • Scorekeeping in a Language Game.David Lewis - 1979 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (1):339--359.
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  • Causal Relations.Donald Davidson - 1967 - Journal of Philosophy 64 (21):691-703.
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  • The Intransitivity of Causation Revealed in Equations and Graphs.Christopher Hitchcock - 2001 - Journal of Philosophy 98 (6):273-299.
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  • Structural Equations and Causation.Ned 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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  • Disjunctive Causes.Carolina Sartorio - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 103 (10):521-538.
    There is an initial presumption against disjunctive causes. First of all, for some people causation is a relation between events. But, arguably, there are no disjunctive events, since events are particulars and thus they have spatiotemporal locations, while it is unclear what the spatiotemporal location of a disjunctive event could be.1 More importantly, even if one believes that entities like facts can enter in causal relations, and even if there are disjunctive facts, it is still hard to see how disjunctive (...)
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  • Salmon on Explanatory Relevance.Christopher Hitchcock - 1995 - Philosophy of Science 62 (2):304-320.
    One of the motivations for Salmon's (1984) causal theory of explanation was the explanatory irrelevance exhibited by many arguments conforming to Hempel's covering-law models of explanation. However, the nexus of causal processes and interactions characterized by Salmon is not rich enough to supply the necessary conception of explanatory relevance. Salmon's (1994) revised theory, which is briefly criticized on independent grounds, fares no better. There is some possibility that the two-tiered structure of explanation described by Salmon (1984) may be pressed into (...)
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  • Non‐Locality on the Cheap? A New Problem for Counterfactual Analyses of Causation.Ned Hall - 2002 - Noûs 36 (2):276–294.
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  • The Uniqueness in Causation.Peter Unger - 1977 - American Philosophical Quarterly 14 (3):177 - 188.
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