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Seminar: 4/2 - Laurie Paul

11:00 to 12:30 PM      at:  5101 Tolman Hall

Department of Philosophy, University of North Carolina
"Causal Overdetermination"

I will discuss the problem of causal overdetermination. Roughly, causal overdetermination occurs when we have multiple causes of an effect such that each cause brings about the effect independently of the other causes. Philosophers of causation have been grappling with this problem for years, and most theories of causation have trouble accommodating the cases. I'll look at some sample cases, show how causal overdetermination could occur in the actual world, explain the differences between a conceptual analysis of overdetermination and a reductive analysis of overdetermination, discuss some conceptual problems with the notion itself, critically discuss extant attempts to handle overdetermination, and close with some methodological concerns.