Coincidence and Common Cause

Noûs 51 (1):132-151 (2017)
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Abstract

According to the traditional view of the causal structure of a coincidence, the several parts of a coincidence are produced by independent causes. I argue that the traditional view is mistaken; even the several parts of a coincidence may have a common cause. This has important implications for how we think about the relationship between causation and causal explanation—and in particular, for why coincidences cannot be explained.

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Tamar Lando
Columbia University

Citations of this work

Beyond Explanation: Understanding as Dependency Modeling.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (4):1261-1286.
Coincidences and the Grain of Explanation.Harjit Bhogal - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3):677-694.
Knowledge-yielding communication.Andrew Peet - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3303-3327.
Induction and the Glue of the World.Harjit Bhogal - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):319-333.
Coincidence Avoidance and Formulating the Access Problem.Sharon Berry - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (6):687-701.

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References found in this work

Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind.John R. Searle - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Epistemic operators.Fred I. Dretske - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (24):1007-1023.
Two concepts of causation.Ned Hall - 2004 - In John Collins, Ned Hall & Laurie Paul (eds.), Causation and Counterfactuals. MIT Press. pp. 225-276.
Contrastive causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (3):327-358.
Causal relations.Donald Davidson - 1967 - Journal of Philosophy 64 (21):691-703.

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