Overdetermination in Intuitive Causal Decision Theory

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Hoeltje, M.; Spitzley, T.; Spohn, W. (eds.). Was dürfen wir glauben? Was sollen wir tun? Sektionsbeiträge des achten internationalen Kongresses der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie e.V.

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Céspedes, Esteban
Spohn, Wolfgang
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Causal decision theory defines a rational action as the one that tends to cause the best outcomes. If we adopt counterfactual or probabilistic theories of causation, then we may face problems in overdetermination cases. Do such problems affect Causal decision theory? The aim of this work is to show that the concept of causation that has been fundamental in all versions of causal decision theory is not the most intuitive one. Since overdetermination poses problems for a counterfactual theory of causation, one can think that a version of causal decision theory based on counterfactual dependence may also be vulnerable to such scenarios. However, only when an intuitive, not analyzed notion of causation is presupposed as a ground for a more plausible version of causal decision theory, overdetermination turns problematic. The first interesting consequence of this is that there are more reasons to dismiss traditional theories of causation (and to accept others). The second is to confirm that traditional causal decision theory is not based on our intuitive concept of the causal relation.