Theoria 75 (4):336-343 (2009)

Authors
Robert Northcott
Birkbeck, University of London
Abstract
Jonathan Schaffer (2004 ) proposes an ingenious amendment to David Lewis's semantics for counterfactuals. This amendment explicitly invokes the notion of causal independence, thus giving up Lewis's ambitions for a reductive counterfactual account of causation. But in return, it rescues Lewis's semantics from extant counterexamples. I present a new counterexample that defeats even Schaffer's amendment. Further, I argue that a better approach would be to follow the causal modelling literature and evaluate counterfactuals via an explicit postulated causal structure. This alternative approach easily resolves the new counterexample, as well as all the previous ones. Up to now, its perceived drawback relative to Lewis's scheme has been its non-reductiveness. But since the same drawback applies equally to Schaffer's amended scheme, this becomes no longer a point of comparative disadvantage.
Keywords counterfactuals  causation  reduction
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DOI 10.1111/j.1755-2567.2009.01050.x
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References found in this work BETA

Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Making Things Happen. A Theory of Causal Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.
Philosophical Papers Vol. II.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Oxford University Press.

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