Sara Bernstein University of Notre Dame
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  • Faculty, University of Notre Dame
  • PhD, University of Arizona, 2010.

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  • None specified

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14 items found.
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  1.  84
    Sara Bernstein, Causal Proportions and Moral Responsibility.
    This paper poses an original puzzle about the relationship between causation and moral responsibility called The Moral Difference Puzzle. Using the puzzle, the paper argues for three related ideas: (1) the existence of a new sort of moral luck; (2) an intractable conflict between the causal concepts used in moral assessment; and (3) inability of leading theories of causation to capture the sorts of causal differences that matter for moral evaluation of agents’ causal contributions to outcomes.
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  2.  22
    Sara Bernstein (forthcoming). Causal and Moral Indeterminacy. Ratio.
    This paper argues that several sorts of metaphysical and semantic indeterminacy afflict the causal relation. If, as it is plausible to hold, there is a relationship between causation and moral responsibility, then indeterminacy in the causal relation results in indeterminacy of moral responsibility more generally.
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  3.  79
    Sara Bernstein (forthcoming). Causal Idealism. In Tyron Goldschmidt & Kenneth Pearce (eds.), Idealism: New Essays in Metaphysics. Oxford
    This paper argues that causal idealism, the view that causation is a product of mental activity, should be considered a competetitor to contemporary views that incorporate human thought and agency into the causal relation. Weighing contextualism, contrastivism, or pragmatism about causation against causal idealism results in at least a tie with respect to the virtues of these theories.
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  4. Sara Bernstein (2016). Omission Impossible. Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2575-2589.
    This paper gives a framework for understanding causal counterpossibles, counterfactuals imbued with causal content whose antecedents appeal to metaphysically impossible worlds. Such statements are generated by omissive causal claims that appeal to metaphysically impossible events, such as “If the mathematician had not failed to prove that 2+2=5, the math textbooks would not have remained intact.” After providing an account of impossible omissions, the paper argues for three claims: (i) impossible omissions play a causal role in the actual world, (ii) causal (...)
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  5. Sara Bernstein (2016). Overdetermination Underdetermined. Erkenntnis 81 (1):17-40.
    Widespread causal overdetermination is often levied as an objection to nonreductive theories of minds and objects. In response, nonreductive metaphysicians have argued that the type of overdetermination generated by their theories is different from the sorts of coincidental cases involving multiple rock-throwers, and thus not problematic. This paper pushes back. I argue that attention to differences between types of overdetermination discharges very few explanatory burdens, and that overdetermination is a bigger problem for the nonreductive metaphysician than previously thought.
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  6.  95
    Sara Bernstein & Jessica Wilson (2016). Free Will and Mental Quausation. Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2:310-331.
    Free will, if such there be, involves free choosing: the ability to mentally choose an outcome, where the outcome is 'free' in being, in some substantive sense, up to the agent of the choice. As such, it is clear that the questions of how to understand free will and mental causation are connected, for events of seemingly free choosing are mental events that appear to be efficacious vis-a-vis other mental events as well as physical events. Nonetheless, the free will and (...)
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  7.  77
    Sara Bernstein (2015). Nowhere Man: Time Travel and Spatial Location. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 39 (1):158-168.
    This paper suggests that time travelling scenarios commonly depicted in science fiction introduce problems and dangers for the time traveller. If time travel takes time, then time travellers risk collision with past objects, relocation to distant parts of the universe, and time travel-specific injuries. I propose several models of time travel that avoid the dangers and risks of time travel taking time, and that introduce new questions about the relationship between time travel and spatial location.
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  8.  81
    Sara Bernstein (2015). The Metaphysics of Omissions. Philosophy Compass 10 (3):208-218.
    Omissions – any events, actions, or things that do not occur – are central to numerous debates in causation and ethics. This article surveys views on what omissions are, whether they are causally efficacious, and how they ground moral responsibility.
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  9. Sara Bernstein (2014). A Closer Look at Trumping. Acta Analytica 1 (1):1-22.
    This paper argues that so-called “trumping preemption” is in fact overdetermination or early preemption, and is thus not a distinctive form of redundant causation. I draw a novel lesson from cases thought to be trumping: that the boundary between preemption and overdetermination should be reconsidered.
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  10. Sara Bernstein (2014). Omissions as Possibilities. Philosophical Studies 167 (1):1-23.
    I present and develop the view that omissions are de re possibilities of actual events. Omissions do not literally fail to occur; rather, they possibly occur. An omission is a tripartite metaphysical entity composed of an actual event, a possible event, and a contextually specified counterpart relation between them. This view resolves ontological, causal, and semantic puzzles about omissions, and also accounts for important data about moral responsibility for outcomes resulting from omissions.
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  11.  98
    Sara Bernstein (2014). Two Problems for Proportionality About Omissions. Dialectica 68 (3):429-441.
    Theories of causation grounded in counterfactual dependence face the problem of profligate omissions: numerous irrelevant omissions count as causes of an outcome. A recent purported solution to this problem is proportionality, which selects one omission among many candidates as the cause of an outcome. This paper argues that proportionality cannot solve the problem of profligate omissions for two reasons. First: the determinate/determinable relationship that holds between properties like aqua and blue does not hold between negative properties like not aqua and (...)
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  12. Sara Bernstein (2014). Time Travel and the Movable Present. In John Keller (ed.), Being, Freedom, and Method: Themes from the Philosophy of Peter van Inwagen.
    In "Changing the Past" (2010), Peter van Inwagen argues that a time traveler can change the past without paradox in a growing block universe. After erasing the portion of past existence that generates paradox, a new, non-paradox-generating block can be "grown" after the temporal relocation of the time traveler. -/- I articulate and explore the underlying mechanism of Van Inwagen's model: the time traveler's control over the location of the objective present. Van Inwagen's model is aimed at preventing paradox by (...)
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  13.  85
    Sara Bernstein (2014). What Causally Insensitive Events Tell Us About Overdetermination. Philosophia 1 (4):1-18.
    Suppose that Billy and Suzy each throw a rock at window, and either rock is sufficient to shatter the window. While some consider this a paradigmatic case of causal overdetermination, in which multiple cases are sufficient for an outcome, others consider it a case of joint causation, in which multiple causes are necessary to bring about an effect. Some hold that every case of overdetermination is a case of joint causation underdescribed: at a maximal level of description, every cause is (...)
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  14.  24
    Sara Bernstein (2013). Review of Sophie Gibb, E. J. Lowe, and R. D. Ingthorsson (Eds.), Mental Causation and Ontology. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 1 (1):1.
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