David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Philosophy 103 (10):521-538 (2006)
There is an initial presumption against disjunctive causes. First of all, for some people causation is a relation between events. But, arguably, there are no disjunctive events, since events are particulars and thus they have spatiotemporal locations, while it is unclear what the spatiotemporal location of a disjunctive event could be.1 More importantly, even if one believes that entities like facts can enter in causal relations, and even if there are disjunctive facts, it is still hard to see how disjunctive facts could be causes. Imagine, for instance, the following scenario. I have a gun filled with red paint and another gun filled with blue paint, and I fire both guns at my neighbor’s white wall. A moment later, there is a graffiti on the wall and my neighbor notifies the police. He would have done so regardless of the graffiti’s color, since all he cares about is the existence of a graffiti on his wall. Is it plausible to claim that a disjunctive fact is a cause of his notifying the police? In particular, is it plausible to claim that he notified the police because I fired the red-paint gun or the blue-paint gun (the thought being that my firing paint of either color would have sufficed)? It seems not. The police was notified because of the actual graffiti on the wall, and the actual graffiti on the wall is made of a certain pattern of colored patches. Imagine, that, as it turns out, there are patches of both colors on the wall. Then it seems that both my firing the red-paint gun and my firing the blue-paint gun were causes of my neighbor’s notifying the police. In other words, my firing the red-paint gun and my firing the blue-paint gun jointly caused the outcome: each of them was a contributory cause of the outcome’s occurrence. On the other hand, imagine that there are only patches of one color on the wall. Then it seems that my firing only one of the guns was a cause. Either way, the disjunction fails to be a cause: either my firing the red-paint gun was a cause, or my firing the blue-paint gun was a cause, or they were both causes, but their disjunction was not..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Rachael Briggs (2012). Interventionist Counterfactuals. Philosophical Studies 160 (1):139-166.
Sara Bernstein (2014). Omissions as Possibilities. Philosophical Studies 167 (1):1-23.
Carolina Sartorio (2004). How to Be Responsible for Something Without Causing It. Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):315–336.
Carolina Sartorio (2007). Causation and Responsibility. Philosophy Compass 2 (5):749–765.
Todd Jones (2008). Explanations of Social Phenomena: Competing and Complementary Accounts. Metaphilosophy 39 (4-5):621-650.
Similar books and articles
Michael Huemer (2003). Is There a Right to Own a Gun? Social Theory and Practice 29 (2):297-324.
Gary A. Mauser & David B. Kopel, 'Sorry, Wrong Number': Why Media Polls on Gun Control Are so Often Unreliable.
John Kleinig (2001). The Blue Wall of Silence. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 15 (1):1-23.
David H. Sanford (1993). Disjunctive Predicates. American Philosophical Quarterly 30 (2):167-1722.
David-Hillel Ruben (2008). Disjunctive Theories of Perception and Action. In Adrian Haddock & Fiona Macpherson (eds.), Disjunctivism: Perception, Action, Knowledge. Oxford University Press 227--243.
John L. Bell (2000). Continuity and the Logic of Perception. Transcendent Philosophy 1 (2):1-7.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads61 ( #70,345 of 1,907,366 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #160,519 of 1,907,366 )
How can I increase my downloads?