. David K. Lewis on Causal Explanation - Dictionary of Arguments

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Causal explanation: A causal explanation provides a reason or justification for why a particular event or phenomenon occurs, focusing on the underlying causes and their relationship to the observed outcome. See also Causality, Causes, Effects.
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Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

David K. Lewis on Causal Explanation - Dictionary of Arguments

V 214
Causal story/causal explanation/Lewis: not everything in a causal story is a cause - E.g. sharp curve is not a cause in itself - it causes uncontrolled turning of the steering wheel) - there are several, convergent causal chains - they can have a tree structure. - Causal chains are dense. Cause/everyday language: unclear - depending on the context. - Overall cause/Mill: Lewis Pro: is a cause.
>Explanation/Lewis
, >Context.
V 217
Closed: everything on which an event in the (pre-)history depends is itself an event in (pre-)history - but not vice versa: a causal history needs not to be closed - explanation: Information about causal story.
>Information/Lewis.
V 230f
Causal explanation/explanation/coincidence/why-question/Lewis: both are legitimate: a) explaining random events - b) denying that we can explain why this provides one result instead of another - this is not about relative probability - the actual causal story is not different from the unactual one which would have had the other result, if it had happened - there are no properties that distinguish the actual story from the unactual one.
>Actuality/Lewis.
V 327
Causal counterfactual conditionals/Lewis: can belong to patterns of causal dependence or independence - we get them when we pass from language to propositions.
>Causal dependence/Lewis, >Counterfactual dependence/Lewis.
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Bigelow I 320
Explanation/Hempel/Lewis/Bigelow/Pargetter: pro: Hempel's explanations are generally correct but do not exhaust all cases.
Individual case causation/individual event/Lewis: (1986e)(1) need not be explained according to Hempel's style.
Probabilistic explanation/Bigelow/Pargetter: here applies that a cause does not necessarily increase the probability of the effect. If one assumes the opposite, one must assume that the explanation itself is the cause. This is because the explanation makes the result more likely.
BigelowVsProbabilistic Statement. Instead: Approach by Lewis:

Causation/Lewis/Bigelow/Pargetter: (1986e)(1) 5 stages:
1. Natural laws as input for a theory of counterfactual conditionals.
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I 321
2. Uses contrafactual conditionals to define a relation between events, namely, counterfactual dependency.
3. Uses contrafactual dependency to explain causation by two principles:
(1) Thesis: Contrafactual dependency is causation
(2) The cause of a cause is a cause.

Causation/Lewis: is transitive.
4. Lewis constructs a causal history of an event. (Tree structure, it may be that more distant causes are not connected by counterfactual dependency, i.e. another cause could have taken the place, but in fact it is the cause.
5. Definition Causal explanation/Lewis: is everything that provides information about the causal history. This can also be partial. E.g. maternal line, paternal line. E.g. Information about a temporal section of the tree: this corresponds to the explanation by Hempel.
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I 322
Causal Explanation/BigelowVsLewis/Bigelow/Pargetter: our theory is similar but also has differences. See Causal Explanation/Bigelow.

1. David Lewis [1986e]: On the Plurality of Worlds. Malden (Mass.): Blackwell

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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Lewis I
David K. Lewis
Die Identität von Körper und Geist Frankfurt 1989

Lewis I (a)
David K. Lewis
An Argument for the Identity Theory, in: Journal of Philosophy 63 (1966)
In
Die Identität von Körper und Geist, , Frankfurt/M. 1989

Lewis I (b)
David K. Lewis
Psychophysical and Theoretical Identifications, in: Australasian Journal of Philosophy 50 (1972)
In
Die Identität von Körper und Geist, , Frankfurt/M. 1989

Lewis I (c)
David K. Lewis
Mad Pain and Martian Pain, Readings in Philosophy of Psychology, Vol. 1, Ned Block (ed.) Harvard University Press, 1980
In
Die Identität von Körper und Geist, , Frankfurt/M. 1989

Lewis II
David K. Lewis
"Languages and Language", in: K. Gunderson (Ed.), Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. VII, Language, Mind, and Knowledge, Minneapolis 1975, pp. 3-35
In
Handlung, Kommunikation, Bedeutung, Georg Meggle, Frankfurt/M. 1979

Lewis IV
David K. Lewis
Philosophical Papers Bd I New York Oxford 1983

Lewis V
David K. Lewis
Philosophical Papers Bd II New York Oxford 1986

Lewis VI
David K. Lewis
Convention. A Philosophical Study, Cambridge/MA 1969
German Edition:
Konventionen Berlin 1975

LewisCl
Clarence Irving Lewis
Collected Papers of Clarence Irving Lewis Stanford 1970

LewisCl I
Clarence Irving Lewis
Mind and the World Order: Outline of a Theory of Knowledge (Dover Books on Western Philosophy) 1991

Big I
J. Bigelow, R. Pargetter
Science and Necessity Cambridge 1990

> Counter arguments against Lewis
> Counter arguments in relation to Causal Explanation

Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2024-05-21