Erkenntnis

, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 149–168 | Cite as

The Metaphysics of Causal Models

Where’s the Biff?
  • Toby Handfield
  • Charles R. Twardy
  • Kevin B. Korb
  • Graham Oppy
Original Article

Abstract

This paper presents an attempt to integrate theories of causal processes—of the kind developed by Wesley Salmon and Phil Dowe—into a theory of causal models using Bayesian networks. We suggest that arcs in causal models must correspond to possible causal processes. Moreover, we suggest that when processes are rendered physically impossible by what occurs on distinct paths, the original model must be restricted by removing the relevant arc. These two techniques suffice to explain cases of late preëmption and other cases that have proved problematic for causal models.

Keywords

Causation Causal models Processes Counterfactuals Preëmption 

References

  1. Collins, J. (2004). Preëmptive prevention. In J. Collins, N. Hall, & L. A. Paul (Eds.), Causation and counterfactuals (pp. 107–117). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  2. Dowe, P. (2000). Physical causation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Fair, D. (1979). Causation and the flow of energy. Erkenntnis, 14, 219–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hall, N. (2004). Two concepts of causation. In J. Collins, N. Hall, & L. A. Paul (Eds.), Causation and counterfactuals (pp. 225–276). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  5. Halpern, J. Y., & Pearl, J. (2005). Causes and explanations: A structural–model approach. Part I: causes. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 56, 843–887.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hiddleston, E. (2005). Causal powers. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 56, 27–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hitchcock, C. (2001). The intransitivity of causation revealed in equations and graphs. Journal of Philosophy, 98(6), 273–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Korb, K. B., Twardy, C. R., Handfield, T., & Oppy, G. (2005). Causal reasoning with causal models. Technical Report 2005/183, Monash University, Faculty of Information Technology.Google Scholar
  9. Lewis, D. (1973). Causation. Journal of Philosophy, 70, 556–567. Reprinted (plus postscripts) in his Philosophical Papers (Vol. 2, pp. 159–240). Oxford: Oxford University Press (1986).Google Scholar
  10. Lewis, D. (2000). Causation as influence. Journal of Philosophy, 97, 182–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lewis, D. (2004). Void and object. In J. Collins, N. Hall, & L. A. Paul (Eds.), Causation and counterfactuals (pp. 277–290). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  12. McDermott, M. (1995). Redundant causation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 46, 523–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Menzies, P. (1999). Intrinsic versus extrinsic conceptions of causation. In H. Sankey (Ed.), Causation and laws of nature (pp. 313–329). Dordrecht: Reidel.Google Scholar
  14. Menzies, P. (2004a). Causal models, token causation, and processes. Philosophy of Science, 71, 820–832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Menzies, P. (2004b). Difference making in context. In J. Collins, N. Hall, & L. A. Paul (Eds.), Causation and counterfactuals. (pp. 139–180). Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  16. Molnar, G. (2000). Truthmakers for negative truths. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 78, 72–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Russell, B. A. W. (1972). The philosophy of logical atomism. In D. Pears (Ed.), Russell’s logical atomism. London: Collins. First published 1918.Google Scholar
  18. Salmon, W. C. (1984). Scientific explanation and the causal structure of the world. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Schaffer, J. (2001). Causation, influence, and effluence. Analysis, 61, 11–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Wittgenstein, L. (1922). Tractatus logico-philosophicus. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Translated by C. K. Ogden.Google Scholar
  21. Woodward, J., & Hitchcock, C. (2003). Explanatory generalizations, part I: A counterfactual account. Noûs, 37, 1–24.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toby Handfield
    • 1
  • Charles R. Twardy
    • 2
  • Kevin B. Korb
    • 3
  • Graham Oppy
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Philosophy and BioethicsMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Information Extraction & Transport, Inc. (IET)ArlingtonUSA
  3. 3.Clayton School of Information TechnologyMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

Personalised recommendations