Time in probabilistic causation: Direct vs. indirect uses of lexical causative verbs

  • Fabienne Martin

Abstract

It is traditionally assumed that lexical causative verbs (e.g. kill) express direct causation only, while periphrastic (bi-clausal) causatives (e.g. cause to die) may also express indirect causation. In favour of this constraint, Fodor famously observed that the (change of) state introduced by lexical causative verbs is not accessible for separate adverbial modification by temporal (or manner) adverbials. In this paper, I present old and new arguments against the direct causation constraint under the definitions of directness of Fodor and Wolff. I then propose a new definition of directness in terms of ab-initio causal sufficiency framed in Kvart’s probabilistic account of singular causation. I argue that directness so redefined is an implicature rather than an entailment of lexical causative verbs, which enables me to account for old and new data. Furthermore, I account for why the constraint on separate modification by temporal adverbials can be relaxed with eventuality-denoting subjects.
Published
2019-05-17
How to Cite
Martin, F. (2019). Time in probabilistic causation: Direct vs. indirect uses of lexical causative verbs. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 22(2), 107-124. Retrieved from https://ojs.ub.uni-konstanz.de/sub/index.php/sub/article/view/73