Abstract

The paper builds on the basically Humean idea that A is a cause of B iff A and B both occur, A precedes B, and A raises the metaphysical or epistemic status of B given the obtaining circumstances. It argues that in pursuit of a theory of deterministic causation this ‘status raising’ is best explicated not in regularity or counterfactual terms, but in terms of ranking functions. On this basis, it constructs a rigorous theory of deterministic causation that successfully deals with cases of overdetermination and pre-emption. It finally indicates how the account's profound epistemic relativization induced by ranking theory can be undone.

  1. Introduction

  2. Variables, propositions, time

  3. Induction first

  4. Causation

  5. Redundant causation

  6. Objectivization

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