Causes and Explanations Revisited

11 years 1 months ago
Causes and Explanations Revisited
This paper reconsiders the notions of actual cause and explanation in functional causal models. We demonstrate that isomorphic causal models can generate intuitively different causal pronounce­ ments. This occurs because psychological factors not represented in the model determine what cri­ teria we use to determine causation. This par­ tially explains the difficulty encountered in previ­ ous attempts to define actual cause. Freed from trying fit all examples to match intuition directly (which is not possible using only the information in causal models), we provide definitions for cau­ sation matching the different causal criteria we in­ tuitively apply. This formulation avoids difficulties associated with previous definitions, and allows a more refined discussion of what constitutes a cause in a given situation. The definitions of actual cause also allow for more refined formulations of expla­ nation.
James D. Park
Added 31 Oct 2010
Updated 31 Oct 2010
Type Conference
Year 2003
Authors James D. Park
Comments (0)