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Following the FAD: Folk Attributions and Theories of Actual Causation

Livengood, Jonathan and Sytsma, Justin and Rose, David (2016) Following the FAD: Folk Attributions and Theories of Actual Causation. Review of Philosophy and Psychology. ISSN 1878-5158

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In the last decade, several researchers have proposed theories of actual causation that make use of structural equations and directed graphs. Many of these researchers are committed to a widely-endorsed folk attribution desideratum (FAD), according to which an important constraint on the acceptability of a theory of actual causation is agreement between the deliverances of the theory with respect to specific cases and the reports of untutored individuals about those same cases. In the present article, we consider a small collection of related theories of actual causation: the purely structural theory developed in Halpern and Pearl (2005), and two theories that supplement the structural equations with considerations of defaults, typicality, and normality—Hitchcock (2007a) and Halpern and Hitchcock (2015). We argue that each of these three theories are meant to satisfy the FAD, then present empirical evidence that they fail to do so for several variations on a simple scenario from the literature. Drawing on the responsibility view of folk causal attributions suggested by Sytsma, Livengood, and Rose (2012), we conclude by offering a solution that allows the latter two theories to satisfy the FAD for these cases. The solution is to give up on concerns with typicality and focus on injunctive norms in supplementing the graphical modeling machinery.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Livengood, Jonathan
Sytsma, Justin
Rose, David
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Depositing User: Justin Sytsma
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2016 16:40
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2016 16:40
Item ID: 12203
Journal or Publication Title: Review of Philosophy and Psychology
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/s13164-016-0316-1
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Date: June 2016
ISSN: 1878-5158

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