MIT 24 221 - Study Guide (2 pages)

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Study Guide



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Study Guide

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Lecture Notes


Pages:
2
School:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Course:
24 221 - Metaphysics

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24 221 Metaphysics Thursday November 17 2005 Sufficient reason Problem for the causal network approach I call it the faux hero problem after the firefighter who is there to put the fire out only because she started it Suppose c the my placing the bomb under your chair d is your fleeing upon spotting the bomb b is the chair s blowing up e is your surviving Here s the graph annotated to clarify the dependence relations B C E D v B D The path from C to E through B is inactive since holding off path variable D fixed at its actual value 1 E is 1 regardless of what value C takes But the path through D is active since holding B fixed at its actual value 1 E is 1 iff C 1 So the account wrongly predicts that my faux heroic act of putting a bomb under your chair caused your survival by tipping you off to the impending explosion How should the network approach deal with this Unintuitive The interpolated variable B is not easy to find and the counterfactual that reveals the active caudsal route from C to E is not at all intuitive For the relevant piece of counterfactual reasoning would go as folows Suppose that the chair had blown up and suppose moreoever that that there had been no bomb under it in the first place Since there was no bomb you would not have seen the explosion coming and would not have run away it would have occurred right under you and you would not have survived This is the sort of counterfactual reasoning that only trained philosophers engage in unaided intuition is not to be faulted for failing to see the relevant counterfactual Reply This seems less like a refutation of the imagined trained philosopher than an apologia on behalf of the poor non philosopher But the non philosopher if she denies c causes e is correct Far fetched The above figure does not constitute an appropriate representation of BOMB our causal judgments depend on which unactualized possibilities we are willing to take seriously and which we consider too remote The variables we choose to



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