Causation: An Alternative

Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 256)

The paper builds on the basically Humean idea that A is a cause of B iff A and B both occur, A precedes B, and A raises the metaphysical or epistemic status of B given the obtaining circumstances. After introducing the formal framework in section 3.2, section 3.3 argues that in pursuit of a theory of deterministic causation this ‘status raising’ is best explicated not in regularity or counterfactual terms, but in terms of ranking functions. On this basis, section 3.4 constructs a rigorous theory of direct and indirect causation that, as section 3.5 argues, successfully deals with cases of symmetric overdetermination and of preemption by cutting and by trumping. Section 3.6 finally indicates how the account’s profound epistemic relativization induced by ranking theory can be undone.


Ranking Function Causal Chain Small World Belief Function Doxastic State 
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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

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