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INUS Conditions Author(s): A. J. Dale Reviewed work(s): Source: Analysis, Vol. 44, No. 4 (Oct., 1984), pp.

186-188 Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of The Analysis Committee Stable URL: . Accessed: 09/07/2012 19:48
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Jackson's review of Mackie's paper (Journal of Symbolic Logic 47. Denise claims to (ANALYSIS have repaired a flaw discovered by F. The definition which Denise quotes from Mackie is as follows: 'A is an INUS condition of a result P if and only if. 'Clauses and Conditions'. -C is itself a sufficient condition for P and so A does not fulfil the requirements of 186 . pp. He amplifies his definition in the paragraph following his definition in order to forestall misunderstandings.C or -A. Denise's further discussion of Mackie's article 'Mill's Methods of Induction' (The Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. for some X and for some Y. It is that any irrelevant condition will turn out to be an INUS condition under that definition. 245-64). But this is too quick: it ignores Mackie's explicit qualifications. I shall argue that Mackie's definition does not have the purported flaw. Edwards. pp. P. Consider conditions S1 and S2 such that S1 or S2 is a necessary and sufficient condition for P. 1965. 324-32) shows a total disregard of the proviso that the Y of the definition should be a disjunction of minimum sufficient conditions.B.'-C or A. DALE his recent paper 'On the Nature of INUS Conditionality' IN 44.S1 which is not a minimum sufficient condition since S1 is ex hypothesi sufficient alone. though Mackie does explicitly use in illustrating a variation on one of Mill's methods a case where (A. C. He explicitly states that the disjunction should consist of minimal sufficient conditions. 470-3). American Philosophical Quarterly 2. vol.2.S1) is a necessary and sufficient condition for P where neither A nor (--A or S 1) is a sufficient condition for P. ed. A is an INUS condition for P under Mackie's definition. it is claimed. it is not the case that this justifies Denise's assertion that under the definition A and --A are here INUS conditions for P. pp.B. 1967. (AX or Y) is a necessary and sufficient condition of P. 1982. For. The flaw in the definition. Then for anyA such that neither A nor -A is sufficient condition for P or S 1 (i) A.C) is a necessary and sufficient condition for P. Denise claims. but A is not a sufficient condition of P and X is not a sufficient condition of P' (Mackie. Jackson in Mackie's definition of an INUS condition. pp. and that the modification runs counter to Mackie's explicit intentions and makes the definition useless as part of an analysis of 'A caused P'. J. 49-52) T. is revealed in F.INUS CONDITIONS By A. (--A or S 1) or (S2 or --A.. Jackson's putative counterexample ignores this requirement since it contains the disjunct ~A.~B. In this example B. 5. Thus. March 1984. that Denise's modification would not in any case succeed in repairing the flaw.

(S or A) does not contain any conjuncts which are themselves sufficient for P. p. p. Similarly for my example (ii). ~A would occur in its expansion and would be eliminated by simplification to a disjunctive normal form.S or ^A. (Mackie. ~A or S as a necessary and sufficient condition for P. This example is an extension of J. Kim's which showed that almost any condition can be incorporated as a conjunct in a minimum sufficient condition (J.S and the sufficiency of S guarantees that this formulation fails to give A INUS status. Suppose S is a necessary and sufficient condition for P and neither A nor ^A are sufficient for P or S. Suppose S is a necessary and sufficient condition for P. This addition entails that the A of (i) will not be an INUS condition. S) or S If neither A nor -A is sufficient for P or S then A is an INUS condition for P under Denise's revised definition since if P obtains then 'Since it is not altogether clear in the literature what counts as a formula in disjunctive normal form I should make it clear that I use the term to exclude any conjunction (within the disjunction) which contains a sentence and its negation.(S or A) is necessary and sufficient for P where neither A nor (S or ^-A) is a sufficient condition for P and ~A. Then: (ii) A.X. 'Causes and Events: Mackie on Causation'.1 Denise proposes to repair Mackie's definition by inserting an extra clause. for if S1 and ^A then both P and X obtain but A does not obtain.(S or -A) or ^A. 255). 'Causes and Conditions'. Unfortunately Denise's modified definition is subject to the same objection: it grants INUS status on irrelevant conditions. However. 433). Now limitation to formulations in disjunctive normal form has its own disadvantages in this context (vide Kim) but it does free the definition from the accusation that it allows irrelevant conditions to be INUS conditions. . Kim. (-S. --A or S. 1971. then so is (iii) A. As Kim notes Mackie indicates that only sentences in disjunctive normal form should be considered in the formulation of the necessary and sufficient conditions for P. there are other examples which cannot be pushed aside quite so summarily. if S and ^A then both P and X obtain but A does not. Each of the examples of irrelevant conditions purportedly deemed an INUS condition under the definition trades on ^A occurring as a disjunct in X. Thus A. viz: A should be a necessary condition of P.INUS CONDITIONS 187 an INUS condition since in the definition X must not be sufficient for P nor must Y contain any but minimum sufficient conditions. for (ii) is logically equivalent to the normal form A. Otherwise Mackie's definition is open to the trivial A. It will thus be impossible to find an example in which some irrelevant condition occurs as A in (AX or Y) where (AX or Y) is in disjunctive normal form and otherwise satisfies Mackie's conditions. Journal of Philosophy 68.

Once again a formulation in disjunctive normal form disposes of A as a candidate for INUS status as (iii) reduces to S. p. J.X may occur in the disjunction (Mackie. on the other hand. Moreover Denise's proposal runs counter to Mackie's explicit intentions for Mackie makes allowances for different A and B to be conjuncts in two minimal sufficient conditions whose other conjuncts are identical.precisely when C and D obtain. If A is the condition that A' is closed etc. -S).D. -A or S. that it should also obtain. It is also far too strict a condition when the purpose of Mackie's introduction of INUS conditions is recalled.D should not. i. ibid. DALE 1984 .~ A or S.e. Under Mackie's definition but not under Denise's modification A is an INUS condition for the current to flow. Mackie maintains that a statement of the form 'A caused P' often makes implicitly the claim that A is (at least) an INUS condition for P. Consider a switching circuit composed of switches A' and B' in series and these in parallel to C' and D' in series. 248). University of Hull. This alone is sufficient to rule out the proposed modification to Mackie's definition. does not allow that A is an INUS condition and so it could not in this situation cause the current flow. that B should obtain and that C.B or C. Now S together with (~S.X and B.188 ANALYSIS so does S. for it is perfectly possible for the current to flow and B to obtain without A obtaining .~ S) entails A (or any other sentence for that matter!) and so A is a necessary condition of P.X where X here has the form (-S. Now Denise's addition to the definition would mean that we would by making such a statement be implicitly asserted that --A is a necessary condition for each of the other minimum sufficient conditions. But this consequence is surely undesirable.. but Denise's modification does nothing to cure those particular ills. We should then be prevented from correctly claiming that A caused P unless ~A was so incorporated. both A. then a necessary and sufficient condition for the current to flow is: A. There is much that is wrong with Mackie's definition as Kim's cited paper has made clear. Hull HU6 7RX ? A. Denise. If in fact the circuit was in the state of B' closed and C' open there is no doubt that the closing of A' would be deemed to be the cause of the current's flowing as indeed it would on Mackie's definition since he requires in addition to A's being an INUS condition.