Omissions, Absences and Causation
Article [Version of Record]
Is part ofIthaque ; 13
Publisher(s)Société philosophique Ithaque
Many philosophers believe that the omission of an act or that the absence of a cause can be causally efficacious; that they can genuinely produce effects or be the result of a cause. I think this view is mistaken. In this article, I will try to show that since omissions are not actions, they cannot be events. I will then argue that the most plausible account of causation available is one where causation is a relation between events. This would rule out the possibility of both omissions and absences to have any causal efficacy. The mistaken intuition behind the idea that omissions and absences can be causes or effects is mind-related, i.e. they depend on what we usually expect from events around us. Causation, on the other hand, should have nothing to do with what we expect.
Laliberté, S. (2013). "Omissions, Absences and Causation". Ithaque, 13, p.99-121.