Example. Here are some things that we know about our concept BACHELOR: it is complex; it has, as constituents, our concepts NOT, AND, MARRIED, ADULT, and MALE; in fact, BACHELOR = (((NOT MARRIED) AND ADULT) AND MALE). From this we can conclude that all bachelors are males. In fact, we can conclude something stronger: necessarily, all bachelors are males. These last two things are not facts about our concept BACHELOR - they are facts about bachelors. But we can come to know them by learning more about our concept BACHELOR. They are conceptual truths: not truths about concepts, but truths guaranteed by concepts. We can arrive at them by doing conceptual analysis.
We will consider just some of these questions.
This does not mean that these things actually can stand in the causation relation. But it does suggest that there is nothing in our concept of causation that rules it out. So we should probably take it that they can, at least until we have reason to think otherwise. (In the next section we will see one such reason.)
Note: this is different from asking whether there is such a thing as fact causation.
So if any statement of fact causation is true, then every statement of fact causation is true. So no statement of fact causation is true.
We sometimes talk about one event being a cause of another event, which suggests that events can have multiple causes. But we sometimes talk about an event being the cause of another event, which seems to presuppose that there is just one cause. And when we talk about one event causing another event, do we mean that it is a cause or the cause of that event?
Suppose I light a match and there is an explosion. The lightning of the match is not by itself a sufficient cause of e or a complete cause of e - it was a contributory or partial cause of e. Other causal factors: the presence of flammable gas, the presence of oxygen. (These are not events, but something like conditions.)
Event c was a cause of event e iff (a) c preceded e, and (b) there are event types t1 and t2 such that: c is of type t1, e is of type t2, and every event of type t1 is followed by an event of type t2.
(SCA) Event c was a cause of event e iff (a) c and e occurred, and (b) if c had not occurred then e would not have occurred.
(SCA+) Event c was a cause of event e iff (a) c and e are wholly distinct events (i.e. they have no event as a common part), (b) c and e occurred, and (b) if c had not occurred then e would not have occurred.
No good to stipulate that c occured earlier than e, because, even if backward causation is not possible, that is not something we know conceptually. Also: Suppose that pressing a button causes a warning light to go on and then a bomb to explode. SCA+ declares that the flashing of the light caused the exploding of the bomb. And this time it occurred before it.
No good to rule out backtracking counterfactuals. But this again would rule out backward causation.
Lewis: the counterfactual in question is just no false (no true reading).
Response: neither c nor d is a cause of e, but rather the complex event c + d. But now it seems we have a case of pre-emption: if c + d had not occurred then either c would have occurred and been a cause of e or d would have occurred and been a cause of e. But can we deny this counterfactual?
Response: if c had not occurred then the event that d causes is not e - it is a similar but distinct event. e.g. it might occur at a slightly different time. But couldn't e have occurred at a slightly different time? And we can probably think of an example in which the event that d causes occurs at exactly the same time. Perhaps it is distinct because it has different causes. But this appeals to event causation - the thing we are trying to analyze. It also means that causal claims between events are necessarily true.
(CCA) Event c was a cause of event e iff (a) c and e are wholly distinct events, (b) c and e occurred, and (c) a chain of counterfactually dependent events linked c to e.