Causation and Counterfactuals

ISBN-10: 0262532565
ISBN-13: 9780262532563
Edition: 2004
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Description: One philosophical approach to causation sees counterfactual dependence as the key to the explanation of causal facts: for example, events c (the cause) and e (the effect) both occur, but had c not occurred, e would not have occurred either. The  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 6/25/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 480
Size: 7.00" wide x 8.75" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.694
Language: English

One philosophical approach to causation sees counterfactual dependence as the key to the explanation of causal facts: for example, events c (the cause) and e (the effect) both occur, but had c not occurred, e would not have occurred either. The counterfactual analysis of causation became a focus of philosophical debate after the 1973 publication of the late David Lewis's groundbreaking paper, "Causation," which argues against the previously accepted "regularity" analysis and in favor of what he called the "promising alternative" of the counterfactual analysis. Thirty years after Lewis's paper, this book brings together some of the most important recent work connecting--or, in some cases, disputing the connection between--counterfactuals and causation, including the complete version of Lewis's Whitehead lectures, "Causation as Influence," a major reworking of his original paper. Also included is a more recent essay by Lewis, "Void and Object," on causation by omission. Several of the essays first appeared in a special issue of the Journal of Philosophy, but most, including the unabridged version of "Causation as Influence," are published for the first time or in updated forms. Other topics considered include the "trumping" of one event over another in determining causation; de facto dependence; challenges to the transitivity of causation; the possibility that entities other than events are the fundamental causal relata; the distinction between dependence and production in accounts of causation; the distinction between causation and causal explanation; the context-dependence of causation; probabilistic analyses of causation; and a singularist theory of causation.

L. A. Paul is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona and Research Fellow at the Australian National University.

Contributors
Counterfactuals and Causation: History, Problems, and Prospects
Trumping Preemption
Causation as Influence
Preemptive Prevention
Advertisement for a Sketch of an Outline of a Prototheory of Causation
Difference-making in Context
Causation and the Price of Transitivity
Aspect Causation
Two Concepts of Causation
Void and Object
Causing and Nothingness
For Facts as Causes and Effects
Preempting Preemption
Causes, Contrasts, and the Nontransitivity of Causation
Causation: Probabilistic and Counterfactual Analyses
A Counterfactual Analysis of Indeterministic Causation
Do All and Only Causes Raise the Probabilities of Effects?
Causation, Counterfactuals, and the Third Factor
Going through the Open Door Again: Counterfactual versus Singularist Theories of Causation
References
General Index
Index of Examples

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