Colloquium: Carolina Sartorio (Arizona)
Department: PhilosophyDate and Time: October 13, 2017 | 3:00 PM-5:00 PM
Event Location: HIB 55
Title: “More of a Cause?”
“The driver’s speeding was more of a cause of the accident than the bad state of the roads.” Claims like this, which are quite common in ordinary discourse, presuppose that causal contributions come in degrees. Some accounts of moral responsibility and liability rely on a graded notion of causation in that they ground degrees of responsibility or liability on degrees of causal contribution. So a lot seems to hang on whether we can make sense of degrees of causal contribution. In this paper I argue that there is good reason to be skeptical. I present a puzzle about causal contribution and then argue that the best solution to that puzzle is to reject the idea that causal contributions come in degrees. Despite initial appearances, nothing is “more of a cause” than other things. It’s all a confusion, an illusion than can be explained away.