Many philosophers motivate the project of analyzing causation by pointing to the many philosophical concepts that include causation as an ingredient: moral and legal responsibility, rational decision-making, knowledge and perception, reference, the mind-body relation, etc. However, the candidate analyses they have proposed often do little to illuminate these other concepts. In particular, two features of most analyses create a poor fit for these philosophical applications: (i) the attempt to explain how causal relations “bottom out” at a fundamental level; and (ii) a focus on actual causation. In contrast, Hitchcock advocates a view in which causation is part of relatively high-level theories, where causal relations typically have interesting macrostructures, and these macrostructures allow us to define a variety of causal relationships. Hitchcock will illustrate the utility of this approach in the context of decision theory.

 

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