Philosophical Studies 173 (1):159-186 (2016)

Authors
J. Dmitri Gallow
University of Pittsburgh
Abstract
While structural equations modeling is increasingly used in philosophical theorizing about causation, it remains unclear what it takes for a particular structural equations model to be correct. To the extent that this issue has been addressed, the consensus appears to be that it takes a certain family of causal counterfactuals being true. I argue that this account faces difficulties in securing the independent manipulability of the structural determination relations represented in a correct structural equations model. I then offer an alternate understanding of structural determination, and I demonstrate that this theory guarantees that structural determination relations are independently manipulable. The account provides a straightforward way of understanding hypothetical interventions, as well as a criterion for distinguishing hypothetical changes in the values of variables which constitute interventions from those which do not. It additionally affords a semantics for causal counterfactual conditionals which is able to yield a clean solution to a problem case for the standard ‘closest possible world’ semantics
Keywords Structural equations  Causation  Counterfactuals  Interventions
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-015-0474-5
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References found in this work BETA

Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Blackwell.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

A Model-Invariant Theory of Causation.J. Dmitri Gallow - forthcoming - Philosophical Review.

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