, Volume 81, Issue 5, pp 1031–1049 | Cite as

Causal Exclusion and Downward Counterfactuals

  • Tuomas K. Pernu
Original Article


One of the main line of responses to the infamous causal exclusion problem has been based on the counterfactual account of causation. However, arguments have begun to surface to the effect that the counterfactual theory is in fact ill-equipped to solve the exclusion problem due to its commitment to downward causation. This argumentation is here critically analysed. An analysis of counterfactual dependence is presented and it is shown that if the semantics of counterfactuals is taken into account carefully enough, the counterfactual notion of causation does not need to be committed to downward causation. However, it is a further question whether this is eventually enough to solve the exclusion problem for the analysis shows how the problem itself can take various different forms.


Actual World Mental Property Mental Causation Downward Causation Counterfactual Dependence 
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 would like to thank Dr Totte Harinen and two anonymous referees of Erkenntnis for helpful criticism, comments and discussions. This work has been financially supported by the Kone Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of BiosciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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