Synthese 190 (3):449-469 (2013)
|Abstract||Instances of negative causation—preventions, omissions, and the like—have long created philosophical worries. In this paper, I argue that concerns about negative causation can be addressed in the context of causal explanation generally, and mechanistic explanation specifically. The gravest concern about negative causation is that it exacerbates the problem of causal promiscuity—that is, the problem that arises when a particular account of causation identifies too many causes for a particular effect. In the explanatory context, the problem of promiscuity can be solved by characterizing the phenomenon to be explained as a contrast between two or more events or non-events. This contrastive strategy also can solve other problems that negative causation presents for the leading accounts of mechanistic explanation. Along the way, I argue that to be effective, accounts of causal explanation must incorporate negative causation. I also develop a taxonomy of negative causation and incorporate each variety of negative causation into the leading accounts of mechanistic explanation.|
|Keywords||Causation Omissions Preventions Explanation Mechanisms Natural selection|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
Johannes Persson (2002). Cause, Effect, and Fake Causation. Synthese 131 (1):129 - 143.
Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (2012). Against the Contrastive Account of Singular Causation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (1):115-143.
Jaegwon Kim (1981). Causes as Explanations: A Critique. Theory and Decision 13 (4):293-309.
Jonathan Schaffer (2004). Causes Need Not Be Physically Connected to Their Effects: The Case for Negative Causation. In Christopher Read Hitchcock (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Science. Basil Blackwell.
Johannes Persson (2010). Activity-Based Accounts of Mechanism and the Threat of Polygenic Effects. Erkenntnis 72 (1):135 - 149.
Holly Andersen (2012). The Case for Regularity in Mechanistic Causal Explanation. Synthese 189 (3):415-432.
Paul Thagard (1998). Explaining Disease: Correlations, Causes, and Mechanisms. Minds and Machines 8 (1):61-78.
James Woodward (2003). Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation. Oxford University Press.
Maximiliano Martínez (2011). Natural Selection and Multi-Level Causation. Philosophy and Theory in Biology 3.
David Braddon-Mitchell (1993). The Microstructural Causation Hypothesis. Erkenntnis 39 (2):257 - 283.
Added to index2011-11-09
Total downloads49 ( #21,760 of 549,071 )
Recent downloads (6 months)10 ( #6,811 of 549,071 )
How can I increase my downloads?