Article/Publication Details

Lewisian-Style Counterfactual Analysis of Causation: A New Solution to the Overdetermination Problem

(Original title: Lewisian-Style Counterfactual Analysis of Causation: A New Solution to the Overdetermination Problem)
Organon F, 2010, vol. 17, No 4, pp. 461-476.
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Abstract

Causal overdetermination – i.e. instances in which x, y, and z all occur and intuitively the occurrence of x alone is sufficient for the occurrence of z and the occurrence of y alone is sufficient for the occurrence of z – has long been considered a problem for counterfactual analyses of causation. Intuitively, we want to say both x and y caused z, but standard Lewisian counterfactual analysis yields the result that neither x nor y caused z. David Lewis, himself, suggested that overdetermination ought to be left as “spoils to the victor”. I show how, if we modify Lewis’ account of events slightly, we can bring counterfactual analysis in line with our intuitions about overdetermination.

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