Causal Exclusion and Downward Counterfactuals

Erkenntnis 81 (5):1031-1049 (2016)
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Abstract

One of the main line of responses to the infamous causal exclusion problem has been based on the counterfactual account of causation. However, arguments have begun to surface to the effect that the counterfactual theory is in fact ill-equipped to solve the exclusion problem due to its commitment to downward causation. This argumentation is here critically analysed. An analysis of counterfactual dependence is presented and it is shown that if the semantics of counterfactuals is taken into account carefully enough, the counterfactual notion of causation does not need to be committed to downward causation. However, it is a further question whether this is eventually enough to solve the exclusion problem for the analysis shows how the problem itself can take various different forms.

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Tuomas K. Pernu
King's College London

References found in this work

Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Blackwell.
Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2005 - Princeton University Press.
Causation.David Lewis - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.

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