Defaults and Normality in Causal Structures

Joseph Halpern

A serious defect with the Halpern-Pearl (HP) definition of causality is repaired by combining a theory of causality with a theory of defaults. In addition, it is shown that (despite a claim to the contrary) a cause according to the HP condition need not be a single conjunct. A definition of causality motivated by Wright's NESS test is shown to always hold for a single conjunct. Moreover, conditions that hold for all the examples considered by HP are given that guarantee that causality according to (this version) of the NESS test is equivalent to the HP definition.

Subjects: 9.1 Causality; 3.3 Nonmonotonic Reasoning

Submitted: Jun 6, 2008

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