Causes, conditions and counterfactuals

Axiomathes 15 (4):599-619 (2005)
Authors
Tomasz Bigaj
University of Warsaw
Abstract
The article deals with one particular problem created by the counterfactual analysis of causality à la Lewis, namely the context-sensitivity problem or, as I prefer to call it, the background condition problem. It appears that Lewis’ counterfactual definition of causality cannot distinguish between proper causes and mere causal conditions – i.e. factors necessary for the effect to occur, but commonly not seen as causally efficacious. The proposal is put forward to amend the Lewis definition with a condition, based on the notion of cotenability, which would eliminate the problem. It is shown that the corrected definition of causality leads to the transitivity of the causal relation. Possible objections to the proposed solution, involving the assumption of indeterminism and the preemption cases, are given a thorough consideration.
Keywords causality  counterfactuals  possible worlds  transitivity  preemption
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10516-005-2487-8
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 34,386
External links

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

Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Blackwell.
Causation.David Lewis - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.
Studies in Logical Theory.Robert Stalnaker - 1968 - Oxford: Blackwell.
The Cement of the Universe.J. L. Mackie - 1974 - Oxford, Clarendon Press.
Events.David Lewis - 1986 - In Philosophical Papers Vol. II. Oxford University Press. pp. 241-269.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Causation Without Influence.Tomasz Bigaj - 2012 - Erkenntnis 76 (1):1-22.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analysing Causality: The Opposite of Counterfactual is Factual.Jim Bogen - 2002 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (1):3 – 26.
A Lewisian Logic of Causal Counterfactuals.Jiji Zhang - 2013 - Minds and Machines 23 (1):77-93.
A Dilemma for the Counterfactual Analysis of Causation.S. Barker - 2003 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (1):62 – 77.
Difference-Making in Context.Peter Menzies - 2004 - In J. Collins, N. Hall & L. Paul (eds.), Causation and Counterfactuals. MIT Press.
Counterfactuals with True Components.Alan Penczek - 1997 - Erkenntnis 46 (1):79-85.
Causation and Conditionals.Ernest Sosa (ed.) - 1974 - Oxford University Press.
Causation Without Influence.Tomasz Bigaj - 2012 - Erkenntnis 76 (1):1-22.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
67 ( #93,078 of 2,267,027 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #372,910 of 2,267,027 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature