Mackie's Singular Causality and Linked Overdetermination

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:55 - 64 (1982)
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Abstract

Necessary-condition analyses of singular causal claims are particularly vulnerable to cases of linked overdetermination, so named because the nonoperation of the back-up factor (in fail-safe cases) or the preempted factor (in preemptive cases) is linked to the operation of the actual cause. As an example J. L. Mackie's analysis is here challenged with a simple switch-light case. Three replies are considered, a facts-vs.-events reply, a different-effect reply, and an in-the-circumstances reply. All are found deficient.

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