, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 149–168 | Cite as

The Metaphysics of Causal Models

Where’s the Biff?
  • Toby Handfield
  • Charles R. Twardy
  • Kevin B. Korb
  • Graham Oppy
Original Article


This paper presents an attempt to integrate theories of causal processes—of the kind developed by Wesley Salmon and Phil Dowe—into a theory of causal models using Bayesian networks. We suggest that arcs in causal models must correspond to possible causal processes. Moreover, we suggest that when processes are rendered physically impossible by what occurs on distinct paths, the original model must be restricted by removing the relevant arc. These two techniques suffice to explain cases of late preëmption and other cases that have proved problematic for causal models.


Causation Causal models Processes Counterfactuals Preëmption 



This research was supported by a Monash University Arts–IT Grant. Handfield’s work on this paper was supported, in part, by a Monash University Research Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship and, in part, by an Australian Research Council APD Fellowship. Thanks for helpful comments or suggestions to two anonymous referees and to audiences at Oxford and at the Australasian Association of Philosophy Conference, Sydney, 2005.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toby Handfield
    • 1
  • Charles R. Twardy
    • 2
  • Kevin B. Korb
    • 3
  • Graham Oppy
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Philosophy and BioethicsMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Information Extraction & Transport, Inc. (IET)ArlingtonUSA
  3. 3.Clayton School of Information TechnologyMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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