Causation, truth, and the law


Authors
Richard Scheines
Carnegie Mellon University
Abstract
Deciding matters of legal liability, in torts and other civil actions, requires deciding causation. The injury suffered by a plaintiff must be caused by an event or condition due to the defendant. The courts distinguish between cause-in-fact and proximate causation, where cause-in-fact is determined by the “but-for” test: the effect would not have happened, “but for” the cause.1 Proximate causation is a set of legal limitations on cause-in-fact.
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