Lewis' Modal Realism and Absence Causation

Metaphysica 12 (2):117-124 (2011)
Abstract
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 problem of profligate causation—one that attacks the internal consistency of Lewisian metaphysics rather than employing common sense judgments or intuitions that conflict with Lewis’ extensive list of causes.
Keywords David Lewis  modal realism  absence causation  profligate causation  possible worlds
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DOI 10.1007/s12133-011-0080-8
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References found in this work BETA
Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Blackwell.
Causation.David Lewis - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.
Causation as Influence.David Lewis - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):182-197.
Void and Object.David Lewis - 2004 - In John Collins, Ned Hall & L. A. Paul (eds.), Causation and Counterfactuals. MIT Press. pp. 277-290.

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