SOPhiA 2013

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programm - Vortrag

Prevention and Production
(Metaphysik & Ontologie, Englisch)

It is commonplace to speak of the nonoccurrence of an event (an absence) as causing something or being caused, and it is explanatory in many scientific contexts. However, absences are ghostly entities; what doesn't happen surely doesn't participate in causal relations, pushing and pulling things so to speak. If they can't be produced or brought about, then how is prevention and omission possible? Most leading accounts of the causal relevance of absences take it to be a matter of counterfactual dependence, conceiving of absences as difference-makers rather than causal producers. Thus a disjunctive view of causation is espoused; ''two concepts'' of causation are needed. Unfortunately, difference-making accounts of prevention and omissions do not handle cases of overprevention, preemptive prevention and omissive overdetermination. After showing the failure of extant, sophisticated difference-making accounts, this paper proposes a way to make sense of absences in terms of facts about causal production in a way that does not require two concepts of causations. Ultimately, to prevent an event e is to bring about some other event that is incompatible with the production of e.

Chair: Florian Fischer
Zeit: 11:30-12:00, 13. September 2013 (Freitag)
Ort: HS 101

Zack Al-Witri
(Columbia University, USA)

Zack Al-Witri. MA Columbia University 2011. BA St Andrews 2010. Works on metaphysics of causation and laws.

Testability and Meaning deco