Against the Contrastive Account of Singular Causation
Author: Steglich-Petersen, Asbjrn
Source: British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Volume 63, Number 1, 14 March 2012 , pp. 115-143(29)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Abstract:For at least three decades, philosophers have argued that general causation and causal explanation are contrastive in nature. When we seek a causal explanation of some particular event, we are usually interested in knowing why that event happened rather than some other specified event. And general causal claims, which state that certain event types cause certain other event types, seem to make sense only if appropriate contrasts to the types of events acting as cause and effect are specified. In recent years, philosophers have extended the contrastive theory of causation to encompass singular causation as well. In this article, I argue that this extension of the theory was a mistake. Although general causation and causal explanation may well be contrastive in nature, singular causation is not. <list list-type="simple">1Introduction2The Contrastive Account of Singular Causation3Against the Contrastive Account4The Semantics of Contrastive Causal Statements5Are Binary Causal Statements Ambiguous?6Extensionality7General Causation and Causal Explanation8Conclusion
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2012-03-14
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