Probabilistic Causation, Preemption and Counterfactuals

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Counterfactual theories of causation have had problems with cases of probabilistic causation and preemption. I put forward a counterfactual theory that seems to deal with these problematic cases and also has the virtue of providing an account of the alleged asymmetry between hasteners and delayers: the former usually being counted as causes, the latter not. I go on to consider a new type of problem case that has not received so much attention in the literature, those I dub 'catalysts' and 'anticatalysts', and show how my account needs to be adjusted to deliver the right verdicts in these cases. The net result is a particular conception of a cause that I try to spell out in the closing section of the paper. In that section, I also briefly discuss asymmetry and the purpose behind providing a counterfactual theory of causation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-125
Number of pages30
Issue number429
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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