Synthese:1-19 (forthcoming)

Authors
Robert Northcott
Birkbeck, University of London
Abstract
Pre-emption cases have been taken by almost everyone to imply the unviability of the simple counterfactual theory of causation. Yet there is ample motivation from scientific practice to endorse a simple version of the theory if we can. There is a way in which a simple counterfactual theory, at least if understood contrastively, can be supported even while acknowledging that intuition goes firmly against it in pre-emption cases – or rather, only in some of those cases. For I present several new pre-emption cases in which causal intuition does not go against the counterfactual theory, a fact that has been verified experimentally. I suggest an account of framing effects that can square the circle. Crucially, this account offers hope of theoretical salvation – but only to the counterfactual theory of causation, not to others. Again, there is experimental support for this account.
Keywords causation  counterfactual  pre-emption  experiment
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Reprint years 2018
DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-02038-z
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References found in this work BETA

Nature’s Metaphysics.Alexander Bird - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Causality.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Causation: A User’s Guide.L. A. Paul & Ned Hall - 2013 - Oxford University Press UK.

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