Counterfactuals and causal explanation

This article defends the use of interventionist counterfactuals to elucidate causal and explanatory claims against criticisms advanced by James Bogen and Peter Machamer. Against Bogen, I argue that counterfactual claims concerning what would happen under interventions are meaningful and have determinate truth values, even in a deterministic world. I also argue, against both Machamer and Bogen, that we need to appeal to counterfactuals to capture the notions like causal relevance and causal mechanism. Contrary to what both authors suppose, counterfactuals are not "unscientific" - a substantial tradition within statistics and the causal modelling literature makes heavy use of them.
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DOI 10.1080/02698590412331289251
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References found in this work BETA
David Lewis (1973). Causation. Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.
Jonathan Schaffer (2000). Causation by Disconnection. Philosophy of Science 67 (2):285-300.
Robert C. Stalnaker (1968). A Theory of Conditionals. Americal Philosophical Quarterly:98-112.
Michael McDermott (1995). Redundant Causation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (4):523-544.

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Citations of this work BETA
Jonathan Waskan (2008). Knowledge of Counterfactual Interventions Through Cognitive Models of Mechanisms. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (3):259 – 275.

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