David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Mind and Language 26 (1):21-52 (2011)
How do people understand questions about cause and prevent? Some theories propose that people affirm that A causes B if A's occurrence makes a difference to B's occurrence in one way or another. Other theories propose that A causes B if some quantity or symbol gets passed in some way from A to B. The aim of our studies is to compare these theories' ability to explain judgements of causation and prevention. We describe six experiments that compare judgements for causal paths that involve a mechanism, i.e. a continuous process of transmission or exchange from cause to effect, against paths that involve no mechanism yet a change in the cause nevertheless brings about a change in the effect. Our results show that people prefer to attribute cause when a mechanism links cause to effect. In contrast, prevention is sensitive both to the presence of an interruption to a causal mechanism and to a change in the outcome in the absence of a mechanism. In this sense, ‘prevent’ means something different than ‘cause not'. We discuss the implications of our results for existing theories of causation
|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
Woo-Kyoung Ahn, Charles W. Kalish, Douglas L. Medin & Susan A. Gelman (1995). The Role of Covariation Versus Mechanism Information in Causal Attribution. Cognition 54 (3):299-352.
Lorraine G. Allan (1980). A Note on Measurement of Contingency Between Two Binary Variables in Judgment Tasks. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 15 (3):147-149.
Jonathan Bennett (2003). A Philosophical Guide to Conditionals. Oxford University Press.
Patricia W. Cheng & Laura R. Novick (1991). Causes Versus Enabling Conditions. Cognition 40 (1-2):83-120.
John Collins (2000). Preemptive Prevention. Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):223-234.
Citations of this work BETA
David Rose & David Danks (2012). Causation: Empirical Trends and Future Directions. Philosophy Compass 7 (9):643-653.
James Woodward (2012). Causation: Interactions Between Philosophical Theories and Psychological Research. Philosophy of Science 79 (5):961-972.
Jonathan Waskan (2011). Mechanistic Explanation at the Limit. Synthese 183 (3):389-408.
Similar books and articles
York Hagmayer, Björn Meder, Momme von Sydow & Michael R. Waldmann (2011). Category Transfer in Sequential Causal Learning: The Unbroken Mechanism Hypothesis. Cognitive Science 35 (5):842-873.
Daniel J. Nicholson (2012). The Concept of Mechanism in Biology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (1):152-163.
Carla E. Kary (1990). One Causal Mechanism in Evolution: One Unit of Selection. Philosophy of Science 57 (2):290-296.
David Danks (2005). The Supposed Competition Between Theories of Human Causal Inference. Philosophical Psychology 18 (2):259 – 272.
Jaakko Kuorikoski (2009). Two Concepts of Mechanism: Componential Causal System and Abstract Form of Interaction. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (2):143 – 160.
C. F. Boyle (1994). Computation as an Intrinsic Property. Minds and Machines 4 (4):451-67.
Joonsung Kim (2008). Against the Monolithic Way of Explicating Causation. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 43:95-100.
Tom Cochrane (2010). A Simulation Theory of Musical Expressivity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (2):191-207.
Jim Bogen (2005). Regularities and Causality; Generalizations and Causal Explanations. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 36 (2):397-420.
David L. Hull (1988). A Mechanism and its Metaphysics: An Evolutionary Account of the Social and Conceptual Development of Science. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 3 (2):123-155.
Max Kistler (2010). Mechanisms and Downward Causation. Philosophical Psychology 22 (5):595-609.
Peter Hedström & Petri Ylikoski (2010). Causal Mechanisms in the Social Sciences. Annual Review of Sociology 36:49–67.
Jeffry L. Ramsey (2008). Mechanisms and Their Explanatory Challenges in Organic Chemistry. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):970-982.
Added to index2011-01-15
Total downloads43 ( #43,637 of 1,139,999 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #48,755 of 1,139,999 )
How can I increase my downloads?