Interventionism and Non-Causal Dependence Relations: New Work for a Theory of Supervenience

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (4):679-694 (2022)
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Abstract

ABSTRACT Causes must be distinct from their effects. If the temperature in a room is 15°F, this can cause water pipes to freeze. However, the temperature’s being 15°F is not a cause of the temperature’s being below the freezing point. In general, conceptual, logical, mathematical, and other non-causal dependence relations should not be misclassified as causal. In this paper, I discuss how interventionist theories of causation can meet the challenge of distinguishing between (direct or indirect) causal relations and dependence relations that are due to non-causal factors. I survey several approaches to solving this problem, and propose a novel criterion based on the notion of supervenience. According to this criterion, variables are sufficiently distinct to qualify as the relata of a causal relation iff they do not have overlapping minimal supervenience bases.

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Author's Profile

Vera Hoffmann-Kolss
University of Bern

Citations of this work

Causal counterfactuals without miracles or backtracking.J. Dmitri Gallow - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 107 (2):439-469.

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New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
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Causation.David Lewis - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.
Metaphysical Causation.Alastair Wilson - 2018 - Noûs 52 (4):723-751.

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