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  1. Lewis' Modal Realism and Absence Causation.Joseph A. Baltimore - 2011 - Metaphysica 12 (2):117-124.
    A major criticism of David Lewis’ counterfactual theory of causation is that it allows too many things to count as causes, especially since Lewis allows, in addition to events, absences to be causes as well. Peter Menzies has advanced this concern under the title “the problem of profligate causation.” In this paper, I argue that the problem of profligate causation provides resources for exposing a tension between Lewis’ acceptance of absence causation and his modal realism. The result is a different (...)
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  2. Negative Causation in Causal and Mechanistic Explanation.D. Benjamin Barros - 2013 - Synthese 190 (3):449-469.
    Instances of negative causation—preventions, omissions, and the like—have long created philosophical worries. In this paper, I argue that concerns about negative causation can be addressed in the context of causal explanation generally, and mechanistic explanation specifically. The gravest concern about negative causation is that it exacerbates the problem of causal promiscuity—that is, the problem that arises when a particular account of causation identifies too many causes for a particular effect. In the explanatory context, the problem of promiscuity can be solved (...)
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  3. Causing and Nothingness.Helen Beebee - 2004 - In L. A. Paul, E. J. Hall & J. Collins (eds.), Causation and Counterfactuals. Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press. pp. 291--308.
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  4. Causal and Moral Indeterminacy.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Ratio 29 (4):434-447.
    This paper argues that several sorts of metaphysical and semantic indeterminacy afflict the causal relation. If, as it is plausible to hold, there is a relationship between causation and moral responsibility, then indeterminacy in the causal relation results in indeterminacy of moral responsibility more generally.
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  5. Omission Impossible.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2575-2589.
    This paper gives a framework for understanding causal counterpossibles, counterfactuals imbued with causal content whose antecedents appeal to metaphysically impossible worlds. Such statements are generated by omissive causal claims that appeal to metaphysically impossible events, such as “If the mathematician had not failed to prove that 2+2=5, the math textbooks would not have remained intact.” After providing an account of impossible omissions, the paper argues for three claims: (i) impossible omissions play a causal role in the actual world, (ii) causal (...)
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  6. The Metaphysics of Omissions.Sara Bernstein - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (3):208-218.
    Omissions – any events, actions, or things that do not occur – are central to numerous debates in causation and ethics. This article surveys views on what omissions are, whether they are causally efficacious, and how they ground moral responsibility.
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  7. Omissions as Possibilities.Sara Bernstein - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (1):1-23.
    I present and develop the view that omissions are de re possibilities of actual events. Omissions do not literally fail to occur; rather, they possibly occur. An omission is a tripartite metaphysical entity composed of an actual event, a possible event, and a contextually specified counterpart relation between them. This view resolves ontological, causal, and semantic puzzles about omissions, and also accounts for important data about moral responsibility for outcomes resulting from omissions.
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  8. Two Problems for Proportionality About Omissions.Sara Bernstein - 2014 - Dialectica 68 (3):429-441.
    Theories of causation grounded in counterfactual dependence face the problem of profligate omissions: numerous irrelevant omissions count as causes of an outcome. A recent purported solution to this problem is proportionality, which selects one omission among many candidates as the cause of an outcome. This paper argues that proportionality cannot solve the problem of profligate omissions for two reasons. First: the determinate/determinable relationship that holds between properties like aqua and blue does not hold between negative properties like not aqua and (...)
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  9. Negative Kausalität.Dieter Birnbacher & David Hommen - 2012 - de Gruyter.
    „Negative Kausalität“ bezeichnet ein hochkontroverses metaphysisches Problem. Können negative Entitäten wie Abwesenheiten oder das Nicht-Eintreten bestimmter Ereignisse Ursachen oder Ursachenfaktoren sein? Diese Frage steht im Schnittpunkt einer Reihe disziplinübergreifender Grundfragen: der Frage nach dem Wesen von Kausalität, der Frage nach der Natur von Handlungen und Ereignissen und der Frage nach der Beziehung zwischen Kausalität und normativer - moralischer und rechtlicher - Verantwortlichkeit. Die vorliegende Studie entwickelt im ersten Schritt eine Konzeption von negativer Kausalität ausgehend vom Sonderfall der handlungsförmigen negativen Kausalität, (...)
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  10. The Absent Relata Problem: Can Absences and Omissions Really Be Causes?G. S. Botterill & Jane Suilin Lavelle - unknown
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  11. Negative Findings in Electronic Health Records and Biomedical Ontologies: A Realist Approach.Werner Ceusters, Peter Elkin & Barry Smith - 2007 - International Journal of Medical Informatics 76 (3):S326-S333.
    PURPOSE—A substantial fraction of the observations made by clinicians and entered into patient records are expressed by means of negation or by using terms which contain negative qualifiers (as in “absence of pulse” or “surgical procedure not performed”). This seems at first sight to present problems for ontologies, terminologies and data repositories that adhere to a realist view and thus reject any reference to putative non-existing entities. Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) and Referent Tracking (RT) are examples of such paradigms. The (...)
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  12. Referent Tracking: The Problem of Negative Findings.Werner Ceusters, Peter Elkin & Barry Smith - 2006 - Studies in Health Technology and Informatics 124:741-46.
    The paradigm of referent tracking is based on a realist presupposition which rejects so-called negative entities (congenital absent nipple, and the like) as spurious. How, then, can a referent tracking-based Electronic Health Record deal with what are standardly called ‘negative findings’? To answer this question we carried out an analysis of some 748 sentences drawn from patient charts and containing some form of negation. Our analysis shows that to deal with these sentences we need to introduce a new ontological relationship (...)
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  13. Absence Causation for Causal Dispositionalists.Randolph Clarke - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    Several theories of causation reject causation of or by absences. They thereby clash with much of what we think and say about what causes what. This paper examines a way in which one kind of theory, causal dispositionalism, can be modified so as to accept absence causation, while still retaining a fundamental commitment of dispositionalism. The proposal adopts parts of a strategy described by David Lewis. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the problem of the proliferation of causes.
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  14. Causation and Counterfactuals.John Collins, Ned Hall & Laurie Paul (eds.) - 2004 - MIT Press.
    Thirty years after Lewis's paper, this book brings together some of the most important recent work connecting—or, in some cases, disputing the connection ...
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  15. Much Ado About Nothing: An Investigation of the Causal Nature of Omissions.Joshua Crook - 2010 - Emergent Australasian Philosophers 3 (1).
    A punches B in the face and B subsequently develops a black eye. There seems to be little doubt that there is a causal relation here between A‟s punch and B‟s injury. However, what happens when there is no positive physical connection between A and B such as the punch? Can an omission, which is essentially an absence of positive physical action, ever be considered a cause of some particular effect? There are certain cases in which we intuit a clear (...)
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  16. Absences, Causation and Necessary Connections.Jonas Dagys - 2009 - Problemos 76:241-245.
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  17. A Counterfactual Theory of Prevention and 'Causation' by Omission.P. Dowe - 2001 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (2):216 – 226.
    There is, no doubt, a temptation to treat preventions, such as ‘the father’s grabbing the child prevented the accident’, and cases of ‘causation’ by omission, such as ‘the father’s inattention was the cause of the child’s accident’, as cases of genuine causation. I think they are not, and in this paper I defend a theory of what they are. More specifically, the counterfactual theory defended here is that a claim about prevention or ‘causation’ by omission should be understood not as (...)
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  18. The Power of Possible Causation.Phil Dowe - unknown
    In this paper I consider possible causation, specifically, would-cause counterfactuals of the form ‘had an event of kind A occurred, it would have caused an event of kind B’. I outline some difficulties for the Lewis program for understanding would-cause counterfactuals, and canvass an alternative. I then spell out a view on their significance, in relation to (i) absence causation, where claims such as ‘A’s not occurring caused B’s not occurring’ seem to make sense when understood in terms of the (...)
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  19. Causes Are Physically Connected to Their Effects: Why Preventers and Omissions Are Not Causes.Phil Dowe - 2004 - In Christopher Hitchcock (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Science. Blackwell. pp. 189--196.
  20. Turning Negative Causation Back to Positive.Peter Fazekas & George Kampis - manuscript
    In contemporary literature, the fact that there is negative causation is the primary motivation for rejecting the physical connection view, and arguing for alternative accounts of causation. In this paper we insist that such a conclusion is too fast. We present two frameworks, which help the proponent of the physical connection view to resist the anti-connectionist conclusion. According to the first framework, there are positive causal claims, which co-refer with at least some negative causal claims. According to the second framework, (...)
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  21. A Demonstration of the Causal Power of Absences.Tyron Goldschmidt - 2016 - Dialectica 70 (1):85-85.
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  22. Absences as an Argument for Reductionist Analysis of Causation.Vytautas Grenda - 2008 - Problemos 73:104-114.
    Straipsnis supaþindina su argumentu uþ reduktyvistinæ, hiumiðkà prieþastingumo sampratà. Remiamasi Davido Lewiso ir Hugh’o Melloro áþvalga, kad negali egzistuoti prieþastis ir jø padarinius siejantissantykis, nes prieþastimis ar padariniais gali bûti vadinami ne tik pozityvûs, bet ir negatyvûs faktai arávykiai . Jeigu toks santykis neegzistuoja, tai prieð vadinamàjà „hiumiðkojo supervenavimo“tezæ nukreipti mintiniai eksperimentai negali árodyti, jog prieþastingumas yra neredukuojama pasaulio ypatybë. Daugiausia, kà jie gali árodyti, – tai áprastinës prieþastingumo sampratos prieðtaringumà.Pagrindiniai þodþiai: prieþastingumas, hiumizmas, nesatys.
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  23. Identifying Privative Causes.J. Haldane - 2011 - Analysis 71 (4):611-619.
    Next SectionCausation by and of absences, omissions or privations, seems to be implied by common styles of description and explanation. Allowing that absences are actuality-dependent, one may yet maintain that they are ineliminable. Against the idea of privative causes stand the objections that there is no principled way to individuate them, or that any account of their identity is objectionally normative. Here I respond to these objections and provide an account of the conditions for identifying privative causes and effects. This (...)
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  24. Non-Locality on the Cheap? A New Problem for Counterfactual Analyses of Causation.Ned Hall - 2002 - Noûs 36 (2):276–294.
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  25. Agency as Difference-Making: Causal Foundations of Moral Responsibility.Johannes Himmelreich - 2015 - Dissertation, London School of Economics and Political Science
    We are responsible for some things but not for others. In this thesis, I investigate what it takes for an entity to be responsible for something. This question has two components: agents and actions. I argue for a permissive view about agents. Entities such as groups or artificially intelligent systems may be agents in the sense required for responsibility. With respect to actions, I argue for a causal view. The relation in virtue of which agents are responsible for actions is (...)
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  26. Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Science.Christopher Hitchcock (ed.) - 2004 - Blackwell.
    Showcasing original arguments for well-defined positions, as well as clear and concise statements of sophisticated philosophical views, this volume is an ...
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  27. Making Sense of Negative Properties.David Hommen - 2017 - Axiomathes (1):1-26.
    Few philosophers believe in the existence of so-called negative properties. Indeed, many find it mind-boggling just to imagine such entities. By contrast, I believe not only that negative properties are quite conceivable, but also that there are good reasons for thinking that some such properties actually exist. In this paper, I would like to explicate a concept of negative properties which I think avoids the logical absurdities commonly believed to frustrate theories of negative existences. To do this, I shall deploy (...)
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  28. Absences as Latent Potentialities.David Hommen - 2016 - Philosophical Papers 45 (3):401-435.
    Absences, i.e., agential omissions and forbearances, but also ‘natural’ negative states and events beyond the sphere of human agency, seem to be part and parcel of the real world. Yet, it is exactly the putative reality of absences that strikes many philosophers as utterly mysterious, if not entirely unintelligible. As a promising approach towards solving the problem of real absences, I wish to explore the idea that absences are latent potentialities. To this end, I shall investigate what potentialities are, what (...)
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  29. Moore and Schaffer on the Ontology of Omissions.David Hommen - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (1):71-89.
    In this paper, I discuss Michael Moore’s and Jonathan Schaffer’s views on the ontology of omissions in context of their stances on the problem of omissive causation. First, I consider, from a general point of view, the question of the ontology of omissions, and how it relates to the problem of omissive causation. Then I describe Moore’s and Schaffer’s particular views on omissions and how they combine with their stances on the problem of omissive causation. I charge Moore and Schaffer (...)
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  30. Negative Properties, Real and Irreducible.David Hommen - 2013 - Philosophia Naturalis 50 (2):383-406.
    Few philosophers believe in the existence of so-called negative properties. Indeed, many find it mind-boggling just to imagine such properties. In contrast, I think not only that negative properties are quite imaginable, but also that there are good reasons for believing that some such properties actually exist. In this paper, I want to defend the reality and irreducibility, or genuineness, as I call it, of negative properties. After briefly presenting the idea of a negative property, I collect commonly invoked tests (...)
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  31. Omissions as Causes – Genuine, Quasi, or Not at All?David Hommen & Dieter Birnbacher - 2013 - In Markus Stepanians & Benedikt Kahmen (eds.), Critical Essays on "Causation and Responsibility". De Gruyter. pp. 133-156.
    Moore is one of the many law theorists who doubt that omissions can operate as factors in the causation of events and that in cases in which potential agents remain passive in spite of an obligation to intervene ascriptions of responsibility are justified exclusively by non-causal factors. The paper argues that this is an uneasy and essentially unstable position. It also shows that Moore himself, in Causation and Responsibility, does not consistently follow his exclusion of a causal role of omission (...)
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  32. The Power of Holes.Daisuke Kachi - 2011 - Ontology Meeting: A Supplementary Volume for 2011, February Meeting:7-11.
    Firstly I define a hole as a dependent matter-less endurant, which is a little modification of Casati and Varzi’s definition. Adopting this definition, holes seem to invite three problems about causation: (1)causal closure, (2)ungrounded disposition and (3)causal overdetermination. I will defend my definition against all these problems by showing that holes are limiting cases of physical endurants rather than their opposition and that they have causal powers in a broad sense.
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  33. Contrastive Explanation and the Many Absences Problem.Jane Suilin Lavelle, George Botterill & Suzanne Lock - 2013 - Synthese 190 (16):3495-3510.
    We often explain by citing an absence or an omission. Apart from the problem of assigning a causal role to such apparently negative factors as absences and omissions, there is a puzzle as to why only some absences and omissions, out of indefinitely many, should figure in explanations. In this paper we solve this ’many absences problem’ by using the contrastive model of explanation. The contrastive model of explanation is developed by adapting Peter Lipton’s account. What initially appears to be (...)
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  34. Void and Object.David Lewis - 2004 - In John Collins, Ned Hall & L. A. Paul (eds.), Causation and Counterfactuals. MIT Press. pp. 277-290.
    The void is deadly. If you were cast into a void, it would cause you to die in just a few minutes. It would suck the air from your lungs. It would boil your blood. It would drain the warmth from your body. And it would inflate enclosures in your body until they burst}.
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  35. The Folk Probably Don't Think What You Think They Think: Experiments on Causation by Absence.Jonathan Livengood & Edouard Machery - 2007 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):107–127.
    Folk theories—untutored people’s (often implicit) theories about various features of the world—have been fashionable objects of inquiry in psychology for almost two decades now (e.g., Hirschfeld and Gelman 1994), and more recently they have been of interest in experimental philosophy (Nichols 2004). Folk theories of psy- chology, physics, biology, and ethics have all come under investigation. Folk meta- physics, however, has not been as extensively studied. That so little is known about folk metaphysics is unfortunate for (at least) two reasons. (...)
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  36. Omissions, Causation, and Responsibility.Andrew McGee - 2011 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 8 (4):351-361.
    In this paper I discuss a recent exchange of articles between Hugh McLachlan and John Coggon on the relationship between omissions, causation, and moral responsibility. My aim is to contribute to their debate by isolating a presupposition I believe they both share and by questioning that presupposition. The presupposition is that, at any given moment, there are countless things that I am omitting to do. This leads both McLachlan and Coggon to give a distorted account of the relationship between causation (...)
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  37. Causation By Omission: A Dilemma.Sarah McGrath - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 123 (1-2):125-148.
    Some omissions seem to be causes. For example, suppose Barry promises to water Alice’s plant, doesn’t water it, and that the plant then dries up and dies. Barry’s not watering the plant – his omitting to water the plant – caused its death. But there is reason to believe that if omissions are ever causes, then there is far more causation by omission than we ordinarily think. In other words, there is reason to think the following thesis true.
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  38. Causation and the Making/Allowing Distinction.Sarah McGrath - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 114 (1-2):81 - 106.
    Throw: Harry throws a stone at Dick, hitting him. Intuitively, there is a moral difference between the first and the second case of each of these pairs.1 In the second case, the agent’s behavior is morally worse than his behavior in the first case. But in each pair, the agent’s behavior has the same outcome: in No Check and Shoot, the outcome is that a child dies, and Jim saves $40; in No Catch and Throw, the outcome is that Dick (...)
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  39. A Weakened Mechanism Is Still A Mechanism: On the Causal Role of Absences in Mechanistic Explanation.Alexander Mebius - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 45 (1):43-48.
    Much contemporary debate on the nature of mechanisms centers on the issue of modulating negative causes. One type of negative causability, which I refer to as “causation by absence,” appears difficult to incorporate into modern accounts of mechanistic explanation. This paper argues that a recent attempt to resolve this problem, proposed by Benjamin Barros, requires improvement as it overlooks the fact that not all absences qualify as sources of mechanism failure. I suggest that there are a number of additional types (...)
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  40. A Structural Equations Account of Negative Causation.Peter Menzies - unknown
    This paper criticizes a recent account of token causation that states that negative causation involving absences of events is of a fundamentally different kind from positive causation involving events. The paper employs the structural equations framework to advance a theory of token causation that applies uniformly to positive and negative causation alike.
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  41. Double Prevention and Powers.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2009 - Journal of Critical Realism 8 (3):277-293.
    Does A cause B simply if A prevents what would have prevented B? Such a case is known as double prevention: where we have the prevention of a prevention. One theory of causation is that A causes B when B counterfactually depends on A and, as there is such a dependence, proponents of the view must rule that double prevention is causation.<br><br>However, if double prevention is causation, it means that causation can be an extrinsic matter, that the cause and effect (...)
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  42. Omissions: The Constitution View Defended.David Palmer - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-18.
    Omissions are metaphysically puzzling: Are they something or are they nothing? This paper develops and defends the constitution view of omissions, according to which a correct analysis of a person’s omission has the form “S omitted to X by Y-ing,” where her Y-ing is what constitutes her not-X-ing. The paper explains why the constitution view should be preferred to other views of omissions and defends the view against objections.
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  43. Cause, Effect, And Fake Causation.Johannes Persson - 2002 - Synthese 131 (1):129-143.
    The possibility of apparently negative causation has been discussed in a number of recent works on causation, but the discussion has suffered from being scattered. In this paper, the problem of apparently negative causation and its attempted solutions are examined in more detail. I discuss and discard three attempts that have been suggested in the literature. My conclusion is negative: Negative causation shows that the traditional cause & effect view is inadequate. A more unified causal perspective is needed.
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  44. The Determinables of Explanatory Mechanisms.Johannes Persson - 1999 - Synthese 120 (1):77-87.
    Sometimes instances of perceived causation turn out to lack causal relata. The reasons may vary. Causation may display itself as prevention, or as omission, and in some cases causation occurs within such complex environments that few of the things we associate with causes and effects are true of them, etc. But even then, there may be causal explanations to be had. This suggests that the explanatory power of causal reports have other sources than the relation between cause and effect. In (...)
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  45. Causal Facts.Johannes Persson - unknown
    The thesis addresses the nature of causation. It is argued that causation exists and is as local as its causes and effects. As a consequence, the position advocated is contrary to the as yet prevailing view that no 'causal tie' between cause and effect exists. Moreover, it is suggested that this tie can be perceived. The essay attempts to elucidate the nature of causes, effects, and causal mechanisms. It is argued that they are facts rather than particulars or universals. Furthermore (...)
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  46. Absences as Causes: The Problem of Non-Persistence Causation.Victoria Rogers - 2004 - Dissertation, University of Southern California
    The problem of causation by absences is poorly understood; numerous accounts hold absence-causation to be different than "normal" causation, but none has fully explained the nature of the difference. Several recent theories have proposed persistence as the basis of the causal relation; these theories, which I call "process-persistence" theories, successfully resolve the preemption problem, but cannot account for cases of absence-causation because absences lack persisting properties. The differences in approach of process-persistence theory and traditional theories offer new insight into the (...)
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  47. Disconnection and Responsibility.Jonathan Schaffer - 2012 - Legal Theory 18 (4):399-435.
    Michael Moore’s Causation and Responsibility offers an integrated conception of the law, morality, and metaphysics, centered on the notion of causation, grounded in a detailed knowledge of case law, and supported on every point by cogent argument. This is outstanding work. It is a worthy successor to Harte and Honoré’s classic Causation in the Law, and I expect that it will guide discussion for many years to come.
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  48. Causes Need Not Be Physically Connected to Their Effects: The Case for Negative Causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2004 - In Christopher Read Hitchcock (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Science. Blackwell. pp. 197--216.
    Negative causation occurs when an absence serves as cause, effect, or causal intermediary. Negative causation is genuine causation, or so I shall argue. It involves no physical connection between cause and effect. Thus causes need not be physically connected to their effects.
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  49. Causation by Disconnection.Jonathan Schaffer - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (2):285-300.
    The physical and/or intrinsic connection approach to causation has become prominent in the recent literature, with Salmon, Dowe, Menzies, and Armstrong among its leading proponents. I show that there is a type of causation, causation by disconnection, with no physical or intrinsic connection between cause and effect. Only Hume-style conditions approaches and hybrid conditions-connections approaches appear to be able to handle causation by disconnection. Some Hume-style, extrinsic, absence-relating, necessary and/or sufficient condition component of the causal relation proves to be needed.
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  50. Causality Reunified.Michael Strevens - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):299-320.
    Hall has recently argued that there are two concepts of causality, picking out two different kinds of causal relation. McGrath, and Hitchcock and Knobe, have recently argued that the facts about causality depend on what counts as a “default” or “normal” state, or even on the moral facts. In the light of these claims you might be tempted to agree with Skyrms that causal relations constitute, metaphysically speaking, an “amiable jumble”, or with Cartwright that ‘causation’, though a single word, encompasses (...)
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