Explaining Actual Causation in Terms of Possible Causal Processes

  • Marc DeneckerEmail author
  • Bart Bogaerts
  • Joost Vennekens
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11468)


We point to several kinds of knowledge that play an important role in controversial examples of actual causation. One is knowledge about the causal mechanisms in the domain and the causal processes that result from them. Another is knowledge of what conditions trigger such mechanisms and what conditions can make them fail.

We argue that to solve questions of actual causation, such knowledge needs to be made explicit. To this end, we develop a new language in the family of CP-logic, in which causal mechanisms and causal processes are formal objects. We then build a framework for actual causation in which various “production” notions of actual causation are defined. Contrary to counterfactual definitions, these notions are defined directly in terms of the (formal) causal process that causes the possible world.



We thank Alexander Bochman, Sander Beckers, Jorge Fandinno, Mathieu Beirlaen, and anonymous reviewers for many discussions and valuable feedback.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marc Denecker
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bart Bogaerts
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joost Vennekens
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceVrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)BrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceKU LeuvenSint-Katelijne-WaverBelgium

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