Counterfactuals and Preemptive Causation

Paul Jonathan Pitt Noordhof, Jonardon Ganeri, Murali Ramachandran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We put forward a counterfactual analysis of deterministic causation (the Potentially Complete Ancestor analysis) which, we argue, deals with cases of preemptive causation better than Lewis’s Quasi-Dependence approach. The basic idea is that, if c is a cause of e, then, perhaps in the absence of a candidate competitor cause of e, e might be a descendent c. e is a descendent of c if and only if there is a chain of counterfactual dependence beginning with c and ending with e involving only actual events. Candidate effects cannot be descendents of pre-empted causes because there will always be an event missing in the pre-empted chain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-225
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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