, Volume 78, Supplement 1, pp 85–109 | Cite as

A Regularity Theoretic Approach to Actual Causation

  • Michael Baumgartner


The majority of the currently flourishing theories of actual (token-level) causation are located in a broadly counterfactual framework that draws on structural equations. In order to account for cases of symmetric overdeterminiation and preemption, these theories resort to rather intricate analytical tools, most of all, to what Hitchcock (J Philos 98:273–299, 2001) has labeled explicitly nonforetracking counterfactuals. This paper introduces a regularity theoretic approach to actual causation that only employs material (non-modal) conditionals, standard Boolean minimization procedures, and a (non-modal) stability condition that regulates the behavior of causal models under model expansions. Notwithstanding its lightweight analytical toolbox, this regularity theory performs at least as well as the structural equations accounts with their heavy appliances.


Regularity Theory Proper Part Minimal Theory Causal Dependency Actual Causation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank Luke Glynn, Wolfgang Spohn, and two anonymous referees of this journal for very helpful comments on earlier drafts. Moreover, I have profited a lot from discussions with audiences at two workshops held at the University of Konstanz in 2009/10. Finally, I am indebted to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) for generous support of this work (project CAUSAPROBA).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Cognitive ScienceUniversity of OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany

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