Normal Causes for Normal Effects

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Totte Harinen
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conference paper description
Abstract Halpern and Hitchcock (2014) have used normality considerations in order to provide an analysis of actual causation. Their methodology is that of taking a set of causal scenarios and showing how their account of actual causation accords with typical judgments about those scenarios. Consequently, Halpern and Hitchcock have recently demonstrated that their theory deals with an impressive number of traditional problem cases discussed in the literature. However, in this paper I first show that the way in which Halpern and Hitchcock rule out certain cases of bogus prevention leaves their account susceptible to counterexamples. I then analyze those counterexamples in the light of the observation that, in addition to abnormal causes, people naturally focus on abnormal effects. I then argue that this bias towards abnormal effects has resulted in accounts of actual causation that cannot deal with causal scenarios in which the actual effect is normal.

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