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Causation, Counterfactual Dependence and Pluralism

Longworth, Francis (2006) Causation, Counterfactual Dependence and Pluralism. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The principal concern of this dissertation is whether or not a conceptual analysis of our ordinary concept of causation can be provided. In chapters two and three I show that two of the most promising univocal accounts (the counterfactual theories of Hitchcock and Yablo) are subject to numerous counterexamples. In chapter four, I show that Hall's pluralistic theory of causation, according to which there are two concepts of causation, also faces a number of counterexamples. In chapter five, I sketch an alternative, broadly pluralistic theory of token causation, according to which causation is a 'cluster concept' with a 'prototypical' structure. This theory is able to evade the counterexamples that beset other theories and, in addition, offers an explanation of interesting features of the concept such as the existence of borderline cases, and the fact that some instances of causation seem to be 'better' examples of the concept than others.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairNorton, John Djdnorton@pitt.eduJDNORTON
Committee MemberDorr, Ciancsd6@pitt.eduCSD6
Committee MemberWoodward, James
Committee MemberEarman, John Sjearman@pitt.eduJEARMAN
Date: 29 September 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 17 August 2006
Approval Date: 29 September 2006
Submission Date: 17 August 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History and Philosophy of Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: causation; cluster concept; counterexamples; counterfactuals; pluralism; prototype theory
Other ID:, etd-08172006-164854
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:59
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:49


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