David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Studies 158 (3):457-476 (2012)
When is a cause of a cause of an effect also a cause of that effect? The right answer is either Sometimes or Always . In favour of Always , transitivity is considered by some to be necessary for distinguishing causes from redundant non-causal events. Moreover transitivity may be motivated by an interest in an unselective notion of causation, untroubled by principles of invidious discrimination. And causal relations appear to add up like transitive relations, so that the obtaining of the overarching relation is not independent of the obtaining of the intermediaries. On the other hand, in favour of Sometimes , often we seem not to treat events that are very spatiotemporally remote from an effect as its causes, even when connected to the effect in question by a chain of counterfactual or chance-raising dependence. Moreover cases of double prevention provide counterexamples to causal transitivity even over short chains. According to the argument of this paper, causation is non-transitive. Transitizing causation provides no viable account of causal redundancy. An unselective approach to causation may motivate resisting the distance counterexamples to transitivity, but it does not help with double prevention, and even makes it more intractable. The strongest point in favour of transitivity is the adding up of causal relations, and this is the point that extant non-transitizing analyses have not adequately addressed. I propose a necessary condition on causation that explains the adding up phenomenon. In doing so it also provides a unifying explanation of distance and double prevention counterexamples to transitivity.
|Keywords||causation counterfactual transitivity difference making causal selection|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Jonathan Bennett (2001). On Forward and Backward Counterfactual Conditionals. In Gerhard Preyer (ed.), Reality and Humean Supervenience: Essays on the Philosophy of David Lewis. Rowman and Littlefield. 177--202.
Alex Broadbent (2009). Fact and Law in the Causal Inquiry. Legal Theory 15 (3):173-191.
Alex Broadbent (2007). Reversing the Counterfactual Analysis of Causation. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 15 (2):169 – 189.
Alex Broadbent (2008). The Difference Between Cause and Condition. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1pt3):355-364.
Citations of this work BETA
Anya Plutynski (2014). Philosophy of Epidemiology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 46 (1):107-111.
Similar books and articles
Luke Glynn (2011). A Probabilistic Analysis of Causation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (2):343-392.
Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum (2009). Double Prevention and Powers. Journal of Critical Realism 8 (3):277-293.
Gunnar Björnsson (2007). How Effects Depend on Their Causes, Why Causal Transitivity Fails, and Why We Care About Causation. Philosophical Studies 133 (3):349 - 390.
David Lynn Holt (1990). Causation, Transitivity, and Causal Relata. Journal of Philosophical Research 15:263-277.
Douglas Kutach (2007). The Physical Foundations of Causation. In Huw Price & Richard Corry (eds.), Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell's Republic Revisited. Oxford University Press.
Luke Glynn (2013). Causal Foundationalism, Physical Causation, and Difference-Making. Synthese 190 (6):1017-1037.
Alyssa Ney (2009). Physical Causation and Difference-Making. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):737-764.
Philippe Huneman (2012). Natural Selection: A Case for the Counterfactual Approach. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 76 (2):171-194.
Jig-Chuen Lee (1986). Causal Condition, Causal Asymmetry, and the Counterfactual Analysis of Causation. Synthese 67 (2):213 - 223.
Mathias Frisch (2010). Causes, Counterfactuals, and Non-Locality. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (4):655-672.
Francis Longworth (2006). Causation, Pluralism and Responsibility. Philosophica 77.
Kevin Gibson (1993). Transitivity, Torts, and Kingdom Loss. Journal of Philosophical Research 18:83-96.
D. Benjamin Barros (2013). Negative Causation in Causal and Mechanistic Explanation. Synthese 190 (3):449-469.
Added to index2010-12-13
Total downloads297 ( #1,926 of 1,696,296 )
Recent downloads (6 months)33 ( #9,872 of 1,696,296 )
How can I increase my downloads?