Omissions and Preventions as Cases of Genuine Causation

Philosophical Papers 34 (2):209-233 (2005)
Abstract
How should we deal with apparent causation involving events that have not happened when omissions are cited as causes or when something is said to prevent some event? Phil Dowe claims that causal statements about preventions and omissions are ‘quasi-causal' claims about what would have been a cause, if the omitted event had happened or been caused if the prevention had not occurred. However, one important theory of the logic of causal statements – Donald Davidson's – allows us to take causal statements about omissions and preventions as direct causal statements about events that are counterfactually described. This analysis provides a basis for solving a number of puzzles about ‘negative' events. Any ‘intuition' of difference between causal statements employing such descriptions and others employing positive descriptions of events is also explained. With omissions, where this intuition has some basis, it is shown that nevertheless omissions do really cause outcomes
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References found in this work BETA
P. Dowe (2001). A Counterfactual Theory of Prevention and 'Causation' by Omission. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (2):216 – 226.
Philippa Foot (1994). More Impertinent Distinctions and a Defense of Active Euthanasia. In Bonnie Steinbock & Alastair Norcross (eds.), Killing and Letting Die. Fordham University Press. 267.

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Citations of this work BETA
David Hommen (2014). Moore and Schaffer on the Ontology of Omissions. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 45 (1):71-89.
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Stephan Blatti (2006). Disjunctivism. In A. C. Grayling, A. Pyle & N. Goulder (eds.), Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy. Continuum.
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Matthew Talbert (2012). Praise and Prevention. Philosophical Explorations 15 (1):47-61.
Douglas N. Husak (1980). Omissions, Causation and Liability. Philosophical Quarterly 30 (121):318-326.
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