Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1323-1361 (2017)

David Rose
Stanford University
How do we determine whether some candidate causal factor is an actual cause of some particular outcome? Many philosophers have wanted a view of actual causation which fits with folk intuitions of actual causation and those who wish to depart from folk intuitions of actual causation are often charged with the task of providing a plausible account of just how and where the folk have gone wrong. In this paper, I provide a range of empirical evidence aimed at showing just how and where the folk go wrong in determining whether an actual causal relation obtains. The evidence suggests that folk intuitions of actual causation are generated by two epistemically defective processes. I situate the empirical evidence within a background discussion of debunking, arguing for a two-pronged debunking explanation of folk intuitions of actual causation. I conclude that those who wish to depart from folk intuitions of actual causation should not be compelled to square their account of actual causation with the verdicts of the folk. In the dispute over actual causation, folk intuitions deserve to be rejected.
Keywords actual causation  folk intuitions  debunking
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-016-0762-8
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Papers.David Kellogg Lewis - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
What is Justified Belief?Alvin Goldman - 1979 - In George Pappas (ed.), Justification and Knowledge. Boston: D. Reidel. pp. 1-25.
Physical Causation.Phil Dowe - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
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.

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Citations of this work BETA

Teleological Essentialism.David Rose & Shaun Nichols - 2019 - Cognitive Science 43 (4):e12725.

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The Folk Probably Do Think What You Think They Think.David Manley, Billy Dunaway & Anna Edmonds - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):421-441.
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