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By Phil Dowe, Paul Noordhof

Reason and probability is a suite of particularly written papers by way of world-class metaphysicians. Its concentration is the issues dealing with the "reductionist" method of causation: the try and disguise every kind of causation, deterministic and indeterministic, with one easy conception.

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This strategy assumes that alternative possible causes would leave different traces, a thesis due perhaps to Leibniz. If true this would allow us to in principle distinguish alternative effects. But if this assumption is true, then it is so only contingently. For a start it doesn’t seem to involve any contradiction to suppose there are alternative possible effects that are totally indistinguishable. Indeed, I will later give an actual example of indistinguishable alternative effects. 32 Phil Dowe Interpolating causal links In the third strategy one identifies one or more events between the cause and the effect such that there is a chain of chance-raising even though there is no chanceraising between the end points.

I am dismayed by missing it. On learning that the plane has crashed, my dismay switches to relief: if I had caught the plane, I wouldn’t have made the meeting, or any other meetings. Counterfactuals and the benefit of hindsight 27 I am spotted in Paris arriving, very late, for the meeting. They had just heard the news. Surprise! ‘She must have missed that plane’, they say. 6 Notes 1 At least if the story is told in an appropriate way. As with the plane crash, the betting story is sensitive to whether my saying ‘Heads’ might have influenced the manner in which the coin was tossed.

Then my shooting certainly raises the chance of B, and B raises the chance of E (her death), since we need to include in this latter relation (as part of background conditions) the fact that the bullet has entered the gunman’s heart, killing him before he can shoot his gun. So P(B|C & K) > P(B|~C & K); and P(E|B & K') > P(E|~B & K') and similarly chC(B) > ch ~C(B) and chB(E) > ch ~B(E). For the last relation to hold it is required that the closest worlds without B include the gunman’s death – a semantics such as that of Lewis would do the trick where the closest worlds have perfect match with the actual world up to the time of B, then by a small miracle B fails to occur.

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