Synthese 175 (2):169-192 (2010)

Authors
David Danks
Carnegie Mellon University
Clark Glymour
Carnegie Mellon University
Joseph Ramsey
Carnegie Mellon University
5 more
Abstract
We argue that current discussions of criteria for actual causation are ill-posed in several respects. (1) The methodology of current discussions is by induction from intuitions about an infinitesimal fraction of the possible examples and counterexamples; (2) cases with larger numbers of causes generate novel puzzles; (3) "neuron" and causal Bayes net diagrams are, as deployed in discussions of actual causation, almost always ambiguous; (4) actual causation is (intuitively) relative to an initial system state since state changes are relevant, but most current accounts ignore state changes through time; (5) more generally, there is no reason to think that philosophical judgements about these sorts of cases are normative; but (6) there is a dearth of relevant psychological research that bears on whether various philosophical accounts are descriptive. Our skepticism is not directed towards the possibility of a correct account of actual causation; rather, we argue that standard methods will not lead to such an account. A different approach is required
Keywords Philosophy   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language   Logic   Epistemology   Philosophy of Science
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-009-9497-9
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References found in this work BETA

Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Causation, Prediction, and Search.Peter Spirtes, Clark Glymour & Richard Scheines - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):113-123.
Against Arguments From Reference.Ron Mallon, Edouard Machery, Shaun Nichols & Stephen Stich - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):332 - 356.

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Citations of this work BETA

Graded Causation and Defaults.Joseph Y. Halpern & Christopher Hitchcock - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):413-457.
Actual Causation and Compositionality.Jonathan Livengood & Justin Sytsma - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):43-69.
Structural Equations and Beyond.Franz Huber - 2013 - Review of Symbolic Logic 6 (4):709-732.

View all 19 citations / Add more citations

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