Of Miracles and Interventions

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Erkenntnis, ISSN: 0165-0106, Vol: 78, Issue: S1, Page: 43-64

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Glynn, Luke
Springer Nature; Springer
Arts and Humanities; Mathematics
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article description
In Making Things Happen, James Woodward influentially combines a causal modeling analysis of actual causation with an interventionist semantics for the counterfactuals encoded in causal models. This leads to circularities, since interventions are defined in terms of both actual causation and interventionist counterfactuals. Circularity can be avoided by instead combining a causal modeling analysis with a semantics along the lines of that given by David Lewis, on which counterfactuals are to be evaluated with respect to worlds in which their antecedents are realized by miracles. I argue, pace Woodward, that causal modeling analyses perform just as well when combined with the Lewisian semantics as when combined with the interventionist semantics. Reductivity therefore remains a reasonable hope. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.