Causation and Counterfactuals

Causation and Counterfactuals

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MIT Press

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Causation and Counterfactuals

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262532563
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 06/25/2004
Series: Representation and Mind series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

1Counterfactuals and Causation: History, Problems, and Prospects1
2Trumping Preemption59
3Causation as Influence75
4Preemptive Prevention107
5Advertisement for a Sketch of an Outline of a Prototheory of Causation119
6Difference-making in Context139
7Causation and the Price of Transitivity181
8Aspect Causation205
9Two Concepts of Causation225
10Void and Object277
11Causing and Nothingness291
12For Facts as Causes and Effects309
13Preempting Preemption325
14Causes, Contrasts, and the Nontransitivity of Causation341
15Causation: Probabilistic and Counterfactual Analyses359
16A Counterfactual Analysis of Indeterministic Causation387
17Do All and Only Causes Raise the Probabilities of Effects?403
18Causation, Counterfactuals, and the Third Factor419
19Going through the Open Door Again: Counterfactual versus Singularist Theories of Causation445
General Index469
Index of Examples479

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