Actual Causation and Compositionality

Philosophy of Science (forthcoming)

Authors
Jonathan Livengood
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Justin Sytsma
Victoria University of Wellington
Abstract
Many theories of actual causation implicitly endorse the claim that if c is an actual cause of e, then either c causes e directly or every intermediary by which c indirectly causes e is itself both an actual cause of e and also an actual effect of c. We think this compositionality constraint is plausible. However, as we show, it is not always satisfied by the causal attributions ordinary people make. After showing that the compositionality constraint is not always satisfied by the causal attributions ordinary people make, we step back to consider what philosophers working on causation should do when the deliverances of their theories diverge from what ordinary people say.
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DOI 10.1086/706085
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References found in this work BETA

Causation as Influence.David K. Lewis - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):182-197.
Making Things Happen. A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.
Causation: A User’s Guide.L. A. Paul & Ned Hall - 2013 - Oxford University Press UK.
Cause and Norm.Christopher Hitchcock & Joshua Knobe - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (11):587-612.
Two Concepts of Causation.Ned Hall - 2004 - In John Collins, Ned Hall & Laurie Paul (eds.), Causation and Counterfactuals. MIT Press. pp. 225-276.

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