Frankfurt-style  counterexamples  to  influence  theory  of 
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Frankfurt-style counterexamples to influence theory of causation
Frankfurt-style counterexamples to influence theory of causation

Subject(s): Analytic Philosophy
Published by: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti
Keywords: Influence theory of causation; preemption; Frankfurt cases; ancestralization;counterfactuals;

Summary/Abstract: Two prominent counterexamples to Lewis’s Influence theory of causation (Schaffer 2001, Hall 2004) happen to be structurally very similar to so-called Frankfurt cases. This should come as a surprise since Lewis explicitly addresses Frankfurt cases while formulating his theory, and claims that theory deals with cases like that successfully (Lewis 2000). Hence, a good question to ask is – whether these two counterexamples are indeed plausible and valid objections despite their structural similarity to the Frankfurt cases. In this paper, I offer an analysis of two mentioned counterexamples in order to answer this question. On the one hand, in agreeing with Noordhof (Noordhof 2001), I will try to show that Schaffer’s counterexample can indeed be accommodated and explained by the Influence theory. On the other hand, I will try to maintain that, even if we accept Lewis’s premises, the counterexample offered by Ned Hall is still plausible – due to a certain feature that differentiates it from both: Frankfurt cases and Schaffer’s counterexample. While the latter two are cases of early preemption, Hall’s Smart Rock scenario doesn’t exhibit that – from the perspective of Lewis’s theory – convenient causal pattern in which we can find stepwise influence (which is enough for the theory to get these cases right). This result, as I believe, shows why we should regard Hall’s counterexample as a better and more plausible argument (than Schaffer’s ounterexample) against the Influence theory.

  • Issue Year: 11/2017
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 7-25
  • Page Count: 19
  • Language: English