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Causal and Moral Indeterminacy

Ratio 29 (4):434-447 (2016)

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  1. Grounding Is Not Causation.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):21-38.
    Proponents of grounding often describe the notion as "metaphysical causation" involving determination and production relations similar to causation. This paper argues that the similarities between grounding and causation are merely superficial. I show that there are several sorts of causation that have no analogue in grounding; that the type of "bringing into existence" that both involve is extremely different; and that the synchronicity of ground and the diachronicity of causation make them too different to be explanatorily intertwined.
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  • Deep Indeterminacy in Physics and Fiction.George Darby, Martin Pickup & Jon Robson - 2017 - In Otávio Bueno, Steven French, George Darby & Dean Rickles (eds.), Thinking About Science, Reflecting on Art: Bringing Aesthetics and Philosophy of Science Together. New York: Routledge.
    Indeterminacy in its various forms has been the focus of a great deal of philosophical attention in recent years. Much of this discussion has focused on the status of vague predicates such as ‘tall’, ‘bald’, and ‘heap’. It is determinately the case that a seven-foot person is tall and that a five-foot person is not tall. However, it seems difficult to pick out any determinate height at which someone becomes tall. How best to account for this phenomenon is, of course, (...)
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  • Indeterminacy and collective harms.Christine Tiefensee - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (11):3307-3324.
    The ‘no-difference problem’ challenges us to explain in which way the occurrence of an aggregate effect gives us reason to act in a specific way, although our individual actions make no difference to the effect’s occurrence. When discussing this problem, philosophers usually distinguish between so-called ‘triggering cases’, where the aggregate effect in question is brought about upon reaching a precise threshold, and ‘non-triggering cases’, in which no such precise threshold exists. However, despite their relevant differences, it is widely assumed not (...)
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  • Supervaluationism and branching indeterminacy.David E. Taylor - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 62 (2):141-164.
    One of the most popular and enduring approaches to indeterminacy phenomena (e.g., vagueness) over the past several decades has been some form or another of supervaluationism. I argue that supervaluationism is inadequate as a model of indeterminacy: There is an entire class of examples of indeterminacy, characterized by a common “branching” structure, that cannot be modeled in the way supervaluationism proposes. I demonstrate my conclusion explicitly with respect to two specific examples—indeterminate personal identity and indeterminate reference—showing how supervaluationism can model (...)
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  • Causal Stability in Moral Contexts.Horia Tarnovanu - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-22.
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  • Indeterminacy in Causation.Eric Swanson - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268):606–624.
    I argue that there are some causal relata for which it is indeterminate whether one caused the other. Positing indeterminacy in causation helps us defend contested principles in the logic of causation and makes possible new ways of thinking about the theoretical impact of symmetric causal overdetermination. I close by discussing amendments of current theories of causation that would help explain causal indeterminacy.
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  • Indeterminacy in Causation.Eric Swanson - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268):606-624.
    I argue that there are some causal relata for which it is indeterminate whether one caused the other. Positing indeterminacy in causation helps us defend contested principles in the logic of causation and makes possible new ways of thinking about the theoretical impact of symmetric causal overdetermination. I close by discussing amendments of current theories of causation that would help explain causal indeterminacy.
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  • Inderterminacy in Causation.Eric Swanson - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268):606-624.
    I argue that there are some causal relata for which it is indeterminate whether one caused the other. Positing indeterminacy in causation helps us defend contested principles in the logic of causation and makes possible new ways of thinking about the theoretical impact of symmetric causal overdetermination. I close by discussing amendments of current theories of causation that would help explain causal indeterminacy.
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  • Indeterminacy and impotence.Benjamin Hale - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-24.
    Recent work in applied ethics has advanced a raft of arguments regarding individual responsibilities to address collective challenges like climate change or the welfare and environmental impacts of meat production. Frequently, such arguments suggest that individual actors have a responsibility to be more conscientious with their consumption decisions, that they can and should harness the power of the market to bring about a desired outcome. A common response to these arguments, and a challenge in particular to act-consequentialist reasoning, is that (...)
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  • Two quantum logics of indeterminacy.Samuel C. Fletcher & David E. Taylor - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13247-13281.
    We implement a recent characterization of metaphysical indeterminacy in the context of orthodox quantum theory, developing the syntax and semantics of two propositional logics equipped with determinacy and indeterminacy operators. These logics, which extend a novel semantics for standard quantum logic that accounts for Hilbert spaces with superselection sectors, preserve different desirable features of quantum logic and logics of indeterminacy. In addition to comparing the relative advantages of the two, we also explain how each logic answers Williamson’s challenge to any (...)
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  • Moral Responsibility is Not Proportionate to Causal Responsibility.Huzeyfe Demirtas - 2022 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 60 (4):570-591.
    It seems intuitive to think that if you contribute more to an outcome, you should be more morally responsible for it. Some philosophers think this is correct. They accept the thesis that ceteris paribus one's degree of moral responsibility for an outcome is proportionate to one's degree of causal contribution to that outcome. Yet, what the degree of causal contribution amounts to remains unclear in the literature. Hence, the underlying idea in this thesis remains equally unclear. In this article, I (...)
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  • Causation comes in degrees.Huzeyfe Demirtas - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-17.
    Which country, politician, or policy is more of a cause of the Covid-19 pandemic death toll? Which of the two factories causally contributed more to the pollution of the nearby river? A wide-ranging portion of our everyday thought and talk, and attitudes rely on a graded notion of causation. However, it is sometimes highlighted that on most contemporary accounts, causation is on-off. Some philosophers further question the legitimacy of talk of degrees of causation and suggest that we avoid it. Some (...)
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  • Against resultant moral luck.Huzeyfe Demirtas - 2022 - Ratio 35 (3):225-235.
    Does one’s causal responsibility increase the degree of one’s moral responsibility? The proponents of resultant moral luck hold that it does. Until quite recently, the causation literature has almost exclusively been interested in the binary question of whether one factor is a cause of an outcome. Naturally, the debate over resultant moral luck also revolved around this binary question. However, we have seen an increased interest in the question of degrees of causation in recent years. And some philosophers have already (...)
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  • Responsibility Internalism and Responsibility for AI.Huzeyfe Demirtas - 2023 - Dissertation, Syracuse University
    I argue for responsibility internalism. That is, moral responsibility (i.e., accountability, or being apt for praise or blame) depends only on factors internal to agents. Employing this view, I also argue that no one is responsible for what AI does but this isn’t morally problematic in a way that counts against developing or using AI. Responsibility is grounded in three potential conditions: the control (or freedom) condition, the epistemic (or awareness) condition, and the causal responsibility condition (or consequences). I argue (...)
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  • Causal Proportions and Moral Responsibility.Sara Bernstein - 2017 - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility, Volume 4. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 165-182.
    This paper poses an original puzzle about the relationship between causation and moral responsibility called The Moral Difference Puzzle. Using the puzzle, the paper argues for three related ideas: (1) the existence of a new sort of moral luck; (2) an intractable conflict between the causal concepts used in moral assessment; and (3) inability of leading theories of causation to capture the sorts of causal differences that matter for moral evaluation of agents’ causal contributions to outcomes.
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