Causes and Explanations: A Structural-Model Approach. Part II: Explanations
Authors: Halpern, Joseph Y.; Pearl, Judea
Source: British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Volume 56, Number 4, December 2005 , pp. 889-911(23)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Abstract:We propose new definitions of (causal) explanation, using structural equations to model counterfactuals. The definition is based on the notion of actual cause, as defined and motivated in a companion article. Essentially, an explanation is a fact that is not known for certain but, if found to be true, would constitute an actual cause of the fact to be explained, regardless of the agent's initial uncertainty. We show that the definition handles well a number of problematic examples from the literature.
Causal models and the definition of actual causality: a review
2.1 Causal models
2.2 Syntax and semantics
2.3 The definition of cause
Explanation: the basic definition
Partial explanations and explanatory power
The general definition
Appendix: the formal definition of causality
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: December 2005
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