Contrastive causation in the law

Legal Theory 16 (4):259-297 (2010)
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Abstract

What conception of causation is at work in the law? I argue that the law implicitly relies on a contrastive conception. In a liability case where the defendant's breach of duty must be shown to have caused the plaintiff's damages, it is not enough to consider what would have happened if the cause had not occurredthe law requires us to look to a specific replacement for the effect, which in this case is the hypothetical outcome in which the plaintiff came off better. In place of I suggest the more explicit An explicitly contrastive approach can thus potentially help the lawyer phrase her causal question in a more explicit way, while shedding light on our conception of causation

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Jonathan Schaffer
Rutgers University - New Brunswick

Citations of this work

Grounding in the image of causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):49-100.
Contrastive causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (3):327-358.
Causal Contextualisms.Jonathan Schaffer - 2013 - In Martijn Blaauw (ed.), Contrastivism in philosophy. New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
Contrastive mental causation.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 3):861-883.

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References found in this work

Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Causation.David Lewis - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.
Causality.Judea Pearl - 2000 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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