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The Role of Contrast in Causal and Explanatory Claims

Hitchcock, Christopher Read (1996) The Role of Contrast in Causal and Explanatory Claims. Synthese, 107 (3). pp. 395-419. ISSN 0039-7857. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20140408-113311822

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Abstract

Following Dretske (1977), there has been a considerable body of literature on the role of contrastive stress in causal claims. Following van Fraassen (1980), there has been a considerable body of literature on the role of contrastive stress in explanations and explanation-requesting why-questions. Amazingly, the two bodies of literature have remained almost entirely disjoint. With an understanding of the contrastive nature of ordinary causal claims, and of the linguistic roles of contrastive stress, it is possible to provide a unified account of both phenomena. I provide such an account from within the framework of a probabilistic theory of causation. Relations of 'screening-off', long familiar to researchers in probabilistic causality, play a central role in this account.


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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00413843DOIArticle
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00413843PublisherArticle
Additional Information:© 1996 Kluwer Academic Publishers. I would like to thank the following people for comments upon earlier drafts of this paper: Frank Arntzenius, Eric Barnes, Nuel Belnap, Alex Byrne, John Carroll, Fiona Cowie, Alan Hájek, David Hilbert, Carl Hoefer, Marc Lange, Wes Salmon, Cindy Stern, Nigel Thomas, and Jim Woodward.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140408-113311822
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20140408-113311822
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ID Code:44770
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Deposited By: Susan Vite
Deposited On:08 Apr 2014 20:22
Last Modified:08 Apr 2014 20:22

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