Disjunctive Effects and the Logic of Causation

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (1):21-38 (2014)
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Abstract

We argue in favor of merely disjunctive effects, namely cases in which an event or fact, C, is not a cause of an effect, E1, and is also not a cause of a distinct effect, E2, and yet C is a cause of the disjunctive effect (E1 orE2). Disjunctive effects let us retain the additivity and the distributivity of causation. According to additivity, if C is a cause of E1 and C is a cause of E2, then C is a cause of E1 and E2. According to distributivity, if C is a cause of E1 and E2, then C is a cause of E1 and C is a cause of E2. We draw an analogy between causation and intensional notions like believing, wanting, and owing, which also admit of merely disjunctive cases. We argue that both the Lewisian counterfactual account of causation (including its recent emendation by Sartorio) and the contrastive account of causation fail to properly account for this phenomenon.

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Roberta Ballarin
University of British Columbia

Citations of this work

Causal and Moral Indeterminacy.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Ratio 29 (4):434-447.
Indeterminacy in Causation.Eric Swanson - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268):606–624.
Inderterminacy in Causation.Eric Swanson - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268):606-624.
Indeterminacy in Causation.Eric Swanson - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly:pqw068.

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References found in this work

On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 1905 - Mind 14 (56):479-493.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Foundations of Language 13 (1):145-151.
The Cement of the Universe: A Study of Causation.John Leslie Mackie - 1974 - Oxford, England: Oxford, Clarendon Press.
Reference and Existence: The John Locke Lectures.Saul A. Kripke - 2013 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 42 (3):341-344.

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