A Probabilistic Analysis of Causation

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The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, ISSN: 0007-0882, Vol: 62, Issue: 2, Page: 343-392

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Glynn, Luke
Oxford University Press (OUP); Oxford University Press
Arts and Humanities
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The starting point in the development of probabilistic analyses of token causation has usually been the naïve intuition that, in some relevant sense, a cause raises the probability of its effect. But there are well-known examples both of non-probability-raising causation and of probability-raising non-causation. Sophisticated extant probabilistic analyses treat many such cases correctly, but only at the cost of excluding the possibilities of direct non-probability-raising causation, failures of causal transitivity, action-at-a-distance, prevention, and causation by absence and omission. I show that an examination of the structure of these problem cases suggests a different treatment, one which avoids the costs of extant probabilistic analyses. 1Introduction2A Naïve Probabilistic Analysis, Two Objections and a Refinement3Non-probability-raising Causation4Graphical Representation of Cases of Non-probability-raising Causation5Probability-raising Non-causation6Graphical Representation of Cases of Probability-raising Non-causation7Completing the Probabilistic Analysis of Causation8Problem Cases for Extant Probabilistic Analyses8.1Causation by omission8.2Direct non-probability-raising causation8.3Failures of transitivity9Conclusion © The Author 2010.