Article

Synthese

, Volume 184, Issue 3, pp 299-317

What could be caused must actually be caused

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Abstract

I give two arguments for the claim that all events which occur at the actual world and are such that they could be caused, are also such that they must actually be caused. The first argument is an improvement of a similar argument advanced by Alexander Pruss, which I show to be invalid. It uses Pruss’s Brouwer Analog for counterfactual logic, and, as a consequence, implies inconsistency with Lewis’s semantics for counterfactuals. While (I suggest) this consequence may not be objectionable, the argument founders on the fact that Pruss’s Brouwer Analog has a clear counterexample. I thus turn to a second, “Lewisian” argument, which requires only an affirmation of one element of Lewis’s analysis of causation and one other, fairly weak possibility claim about the nature of wholly contingent events. The final section of the paper explains how both arguments escape objections from supposed indeterminacy in quantum physics.

Keywords

Causation Counterfactuals Conditionals Counterfactual logic Natural laws Quantum physics