David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (4):787-795 (2012)
According to James Woodward’s influential interventionist account of causation, X is a cause of Y iff, roughly, there is a possible intervention on X that changes Y. Woodward requires that interventions be merely logically possible. I will argue for two claims against this modal character of interventions: First, merely logically possible interventions are dispensable for the semantic project of providing an account of the meaning of causal statements. If interventions are indeed dispensable, the interventionist theory collapses into (some sort of) a counterfactual theory of causation. Thus, the interventionist theory is not tenable as a theory of causation in its own right. Second, if one maintains that merely logically possible interventions are indispensable, then interventions with this modal character lead to the fatal result that interventionist counterfactuals are evaluated inadequately. Consequently, interventionists offer an inadequate theory of causation. I suggest that if we are concerned with explicating causal concepts and stating the truth-conditions of causal claims we best get rid of Woodwardian interventions.
|Keywords||Interventionist theory of causation Intervention Counterfactuals Counterfactual theories of causation|
|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
John Campbell (2006). An Interventionist Approach to Causation in Psychology. In Alison Gopnik & Larry J. Schulz (eds.), Causal Learning: Psychology, Philosophy and Computation. Oup. 58--66.
Dorothy Edgington (2008). Counterfactuals. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1part1):1-21.
Hartry Field (2003). Causation in a Physical World. In Michael J. Loux & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. 435-460.
Joseph Y. Halpern & Judea Pearl (2005). Causes and Explanations: A Structural-Model Approach. Part I: Causes. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (4):843-887.
Hannes Leitgeb (2012). A Probabilistic Semantics for Counterfactuals. Part B. Review of Symbolic Logic 5 (1):85-121.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Luke Glynn (2013). Of Miracles and Interventions. Erkenntnis 78 (1):43-64.
Richard Otte (1987). Indeterminism, Counterfactuals, and Causation. Philosophy of Science 54 (1):45-62.
Michael Baumgartner (2009). Interdefining Causation and Intervention. Dialectica 63 (2):175-194.
S. Barker (2003). A Dilemma for the Counterfactual Analysis of Causation. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (1):62 – 77.
Stathis Psillos (2004). A Glimpse of the Secret Connexion: Harmonizing Mechanisms with Counterfactuals. Perspectives on Science 12 (3):288-319.
Max Kistler (2013). The Interventionist Account of Causation and Non-Causal Association Laws. Erkenntnis 78 (1):1-20.
James Woodward (2004). Counterfactuals and Causal Explanation. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (1):41 – 72.
James M. Joyce (2010). Causal Reasoning and Backtracking. Philosophical Studies 147 (1):139 - 154.
James Woodward (2011). Psychological Studies of Causal and Counterfactual Reasoning. In Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack & Sarah R. Beck (eds.), Understanding Counterfactuals, Understanding Causation. Oxford University Press. 16.
Brad Weslake (forthcoming). A Partial Theory of Actual Causation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
Peter Menzies, Counterfactual Theories of Causation. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Dwayne Moore (2013). Counterfactuals, Autonomy and Downward Causation: Reply to Zhong. Philosophia 41 (3):831-839.
Christopher Hitchcock (2013). What is the 'Cause' in Causal Decision Theory? Erkenntnis 78 (1):129-146.
Added to index2012-02-01
Total downloads68 ( #24,268 of 1,139,956 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #28,326 of 1,139,956 )
How can I increase my downloads?