Against Lewis's New Theory of Causation

Published: Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 84, 398–412, 2003.

Abstract: A recent paper by David Lewis, "Causation as Influence", proposes a new theory of causation. I argue against the theory, maintaining that (a) the relation asserted by a claim of the form "C was a cause of E" is distinct from the relation of causal influence, (b) the former relation depends very much, contra Lewis, on the individuation conditions for the event E, and (c) Lewis's account is unsatisfactory as an analysis of either kind of relation. The counterexamples presented here provide, I suggest, some insight into the reasons for the failure of counterfactual accounts of causal relations.

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