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Ismael, Jenann, , . Raid! Dissolving the Big, Bad Bug
2008, Nous 42 (2): 292--307
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Antony Eagle

Abstract: There’s a long history of discussion of probability in philosophy, but objective chance separated itself off and came into its own as a topic with the advent of a physical theory—quantum mechanics—in which chances play a central, and apparently ineliminable, role. In 1980 David Lewis wrote a paper pointing out that a very broad class of accounts of the nature of chance apparently lead to a contradiction when combined with a principle that expresses the role of chance in guiding belief. There is still no settled agreement on the proper response to the Lewis problem. At the time he wrote the article, Lewis despaired of a solution, but, although he never achieved one that satisfied him completely, by 1994, due to work primarily by Thau and Hall, he had come to think the problem could be disarmed if we fudged a little on the meaning of ‘chance’. I’ll say more about this below. What I’m going to suggest, however, is that the qualification is unnecessary. The problem depends on an assumption that should be rejected, viz., that using information about chance to guide credence requires one to conditionalize on the theory of chance that one is using. I’m going to propose a general recipe for using information about chance to guide belief that does not require conditionalization on a theory of chance at any stage. Lewis’ problem doesn’t arise in this setting.

Comment: A useful summary and positive contribution to the large debate over Lewis' Principal Principle connecting chance and credence. Useful for a graduate seminar in philosophy of probability or specialised topics in metaphysics and philosophy of physics.

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Paul, L. A., , Hall, Edward J. (Hall, Ned). Causation: A User’s Guide
2013, Oxford University Press UK.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Tyron Goldschmidt

Publisher’s Note: Causation is at once familiar and mysterious. Neither common sense nor extensive philosophical debate has led us to anything like agreement on the correct analysis of the concept of causation, or an account of the metaphysical nature of the causal relation. Causation: A User’s Guide cuts a clear path through this confusing but vital landscape. L. A. Paul and Ned Hall guide the reader through the most important philosophical treatments of causation, negotiating the terrain by taking a set of examples as landmarks. They clarify the central themes of the debate about causation, and cover questions about causation involving omissions or absences, preemption and other species of redundant causation, and the possibility that causation is not transitive. Along the way, Paul and Hall examine several contemporary proposals for analyzing the nature of causation and assess their merits and overall methodological cogency.The book is designed to be of value both to trained specialists and those coming to the problem of causation for the first time. It provides the reader with a broad and sophisticated view of the metaphysics of the causal relation.

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Rennick, Stephanie, , . Things mere mortals can do, but philosophers can’t
2015, Analysis 75(1): 22-26
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by:

Abstract: David Lewis famously argued that the time traveller ‘can’ murder her grandfather, even though she never will: it is compossible with a particular set of facts including her motive, opportunity and skill (1976: 150). I argue that while ordinary agents ‘can’ under Lewis’s conception, philosophers cannot – the latter will not only fail to fulfill their homicidal intentions but also fail to form them in the first place.

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