Publication detailsReiss, Julian (2013). Contextualising Causation: Part II. Philosophy Compass 8(11): 1076-1090.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 1747-9991
- DOI: 10.1111/phc3.12073
- Further publication details on publisher web site
Author(s) from Durham
In recent years, a number of philosophers have attempted to fix paradoxes of the counterfactual account of causation by making causation contrastive. In this framework, causation is understood to be not a two-place relationship between a cause and an effect but a three or four-place relationship between a cause, an effect and a contrast on the side of the cause, the effect or both. I argue that contrasting helps resolving certain paradoxes only if an account of admissibility of the chosen set of contrasts is given. I show by means of numerous examples that it is contextual features that determine admissibility. This way, context becomes part of the semantics of causation. I finally argue that once contextualised, explicit contrasting is redundant: causation is therefore a three-place relationship between a cause, an effect and a context.