Single Idea 4398

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 9. Counterfactual Claims]

Full Idea

Lewis gives an account of causation in terms of counterfactual conditionals (roughly, an event c causes an event e iff if c had not happened then e would not have happened either).


'Counterfactuals' are statements beginning "If.." - events that might have happened, but didn't

Gist of Idea

An event causes another just if the second event would not have happened without the first


report of David Lewis (works [1973]) by Stathis Psillos - Causation and Explanation Intro

Book Reference

Psillos,Stathis: 'Causation and Explanation' [Acumen 2002], p.5

A Reaction

This feels wrong to me. It is a version of Humean constant conjunction, but counterfactuals are too much a feature of our minds, and not sufficiently a feature of the world, to do this job. Tricky.