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Luke Fenton-Glynn (UCL): “Probabilistic Actual Causation”

28 October 2015, 5:30 pm7:00 pm

Abstract: Suzy will throw a stone at a particular bottle if and only if Billy does not throw a stone at the bottle. Suzy is a better shot than Billy. In fact, Billy throws his stone at the bottle and, as luck would have it, he hits and breaks the bottle. Here Suzy’s intention to throw iff Billy doesn’t raises the probability of the bottle’s breaking (because there is some chance of Billy’s not throwing), but is not a cause of its breaking. On the other hand, Billy’s throw causes the bottle to break but lowers the probability of its breaking (because it prevents Suzy – who is a better shot – from throwing). The problems of probability-raising non-causation and of non-probability-raising causation that are illustrated by this example continue to pose difficulties for analysing probabilistic actual (i.e. token) causation. I appeal to the formal tools of probabilistic causal models to propose a new solution to these difficulties.


28 October 2015
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
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