Incorporated norms for causation

Aynat Rubinstein, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Causal judgment shows sensitivity to norms in the sense that what is morally good, legally required, or epistemically expected affects our intuitions about what count as possible and impossible causes (Stapleton 1994). Although it shines through in our intuitions about absences as causes and about causal interventions (Beebee 2004, Hitchcock and Knobe 2009), the normative aspect of causation has been argued to have dubious theoretical status.

My goal in this paper is to explore connections between talk about modal necessity and talk about causality as a strategy for describing the normative component of causative language. Within a quantificational possible worlds analysis of modality, I purse the idea that certain norms are incorporated into the factual base that determines the truth of counterfactuals relevant for causal judgments.