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Metaphilosophy: Contrastivism #3 (Causation)

In this Wireless Philosophy video, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (Duke University) introduces a new approach to causation: contrastivism. At odds with traditional philosophical approaches to causation, contrastive causation holds that causal statements are true only relative to a set of relevant alternatives.

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  • female robot grace style avatar for user tw486364
    why does the majority of these responses go back 5 years?
    Did this curriculum reemerge?
    (1 vote)
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  • old spice man green style avatar for user Don Spence
    I am having trouble with the perceived (by me) straw man (straw person?) appearance of the one alternative in the smoking moderately and antidote examples. How can we set up a situation where we could argue that moderate smoking would not cause lung cancer, or that Kate is guilty of murder for administering an antidote? The postulation seems artificially contrived to prove Dr. Sinnott-Armstrong's advocacy of contrastivism.

    That said: The contrastivism approach seems uncommonly sensible (but I still have two videos to watch) compared to many of the principles of philosophy in other sections of this site. Snark alert - many philosophers make a simple approach to life much more complicated. It is a luxury to live in a time and place where this can happen, but personally I prefer a little bit more of the unexamined life.
    (2 votes)
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Video transcript