more from Jonathan Bennett

Single Idea 8441

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation]

Full Idea

Although you cannot cause a fire by delaying something's burning, you can cause a fire by hastening something's burning.

Gist of Idea

Delaying a fire doesn't cause it, but hastening it might


Jonathan Bennett (Event Causation: counterfactual analysis [1987], p.223)

Book Reference

'Causation', ed/tr. Sosa,E. /Tooley,M. [OUP 1993], p.223

A Reaction

A very nice observation which brings out all sorts of problems about identifying causes. Bennett is criticising the counterfactual account. It is part of the problem of pre-emption, where causes are queueing up to produce a given effect.