Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published November 2009 | public
Journal Article

Cause and Norm


Much of the philosophical literature on causation has focused on the concept of "actual" causation, sometimes called "token" causation. In particular, it is this notion of actual causation that many philosophical theories of causation have attempted to capture. In this paper, we address the question: What purpose does this concept serve? As we shall see in the next section, one does not need this concept for purposes of prediction or rational deliberation. What then could its purpose be? We will argue that one can gain an important clue here by looking at the ways in which causal judgments are shaped by people's understanding of norms.

Additional Information

© 2009 The Journal of Philosophy, Inc. We would like to thank Nancy Cartwright, Clark Glymour, Alison Gopnik, Dennis Hilton, Christoph Hoerl, David Lagnado, Tania Lombrozo, David Mandel, Laurie Paul, Jonathan Schaffer, Jim Woodward, Gideon Yaffe, and audience members at the McDonnell workshop on Causal and Moral Cognition (California Institute of Technology), the University of Southern California, the workshop on the Origins and Functions of Causal Thinking IV (Venice, Italy), Rutgers University, the Society for Philosophy and Psychology (Toronto), the Workshop on Causal and Counterfactual Understanding (University of Warwick), and the Workshop on Counterfactuals (Erasmus University, Rotterdam).

Additional details

August 19, 2023
October 26, 2023