In defense of causal eliminativism

Synthese 200 (5):1-22 (2022)
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Abstract

Causal eliminativists maintain that all causal talk is false. The prospects for such a view seem to be stymied by an indispensability argument, charging that any agent must distinguish between effective and ineffective strategies, and that such a distinction must commit that agent to causal notions. However, this argument has been under-explored. The contributions of this paper are twofold: first, I provide a thorough explication of the indispensability argument and the various ways it might be defended. Second, I point to an important limitation in the argument and suggest that it does not give us sufficient reason to reject eliminativism. In support of this last claim, I show that the distinction between effective and ineffective strategies could perfectly well be grounded in a counterfactual rather than a causal decision theory and argue that there are fully adequate explanations of how we could come to make the requisite counterfactual judgments that need not invoke causal concepts.

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References found in this work

Time and chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 36 (3):602-605.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Foundations of Language 13 (1):145-151.

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