, Volume 115, Issue 3, pp 333–354

Freedom, Causation, and the Consequence Argument



The problem of analyzing causation and the problem of incompatibilism versus compatibilism are largely distinct. Yet, this paper will show that there are some theories of causation that a compatibilist should not endorse: namely, counterfactual theories, specifically the one developed by David Lewis and a newer, amended version of his account. Endorsing either of those accounts of causation undercuts the main compatibilist reply to a powerful argument for incompatibilism. Conversely, the argument of this paper has the following message for incompatibilists: you have reason to consider defending a counterfactual theory of causation.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anscombe, G. E. M.: 1971, Causality and Determination, Inaugural Lecture, Cambridge University.Google Scholar
  2. Ayer, A.: 1954, 'Freedom and Necessity', in his Philosophical Essays, MacMillan, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Dummett, M.: 1964, 'Bringing About the Past', Philosophical Review 73, 338–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ekstrom, L. W.: 1995, 'Causes and Nested Counterfactuals', Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73, 574–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fischer, J. M.: 1983, 'Incompatibilism', Philosophical Studies 43, 127–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Flint, T. P.: 1987, 'Compatibilism and the Argument from Unavoidability', Journal of Philosophy 84, 423–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ginet, C.: 1990, On Action, Cambridge University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Gorovitz, S.: 1964, 'Leaving the Past Alone', Philosophical Review 73, 360–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hobart, R.: 1934, 'Free Will as Involving Determination and Inconceivable without It', Mind 43, 1–27.Google Scholar
  10. Horgan, T.: 1985, 'Compatibilism and the Consequence Argument', Philosophical Studies 47, 339–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Horwich, P.: 1987, Asymmetries in Time, MIT Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  12. Kim, J.: 1973, 'Causes and Counterfactuals', Journal of Philosophy 70, 570–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lewis, D.: 1973, 'Causation', The Journal of Philosophy 70, 556–67. Reprinted in his Philosophical Papers II, 159–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lewis, D.: 1973, 'Events', Philosophical Papers II, 241–68.Google Scholar
  15. Lewis, D.: 1981, 'Are We Free to Break the Laws?', Theoria 47, 113–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Van Inwagen, P.: 1975, 'The Incompatibility of Free Will and Determinism', Philosophical Studies 27, 185–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Van Inwagen, P.: 1983, An Essay on Free Will, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  18. Vihvelin, K.: 1991, 'Freedom, Causation, and Counterfactuals', Philosophical Studies 64, 161–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Vihvelin, K.: 1995, 'Causes, Effects, and Counterfactual Dependence', Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73, 560–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Vihvelin, K.: 1995, 'Reply to “Causes and Nested Counterfactuals”', Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73, 579–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations


There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations