The Counterfactual NESS Definition of Causation

Authors

  • Sander Beckers Ludwig Maximilian University - Munich

Keywords:

Action, Change, and Causality

Abstract

Beckers & Vennekens recently proposed a definition of actual causation that is based on certain plausible principles, thereby allowing the debate on causation to shift away from its heavy focus on examples towards a more systematic analysis. This paper contributes to that analysis in two ways. First, I show that their definition is in fact a formalization of Wright’s famous NESS definition of causation combined with a counterfactual difference-making condition. This means that their definition integrates two highly influential approaches to causation that are claimed to stand in opposition to each other. Second, I modify their definition to offer a substantial improvement: I weaken their difference-making condition in such a way that it avoids their problematic analysis of cases of preemption. The resulting Counterfactual NESS definition of causation forms a natural compromise between counterfactual approaches and the NESS approach.

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Published

2021-05-18

How to Cite

Beckers, S. (2021). The Counterfactual NESS Definition of Causation. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 35(7), 6210-6217. Retrieved from https://ojs.aaai.org/index.php/AAAI/article/view/16772

Issue

Section

AAAI Technical Track on Knowledge Representation and Reasoning