ABSTRACT. The most general criticism of negative causation – causation by or of absences – is that it requires negative properties or entities as an ontological addition. If that were the case, then negative causation would be a spurious phenomenon. I argue that negative causation, properly understood, requires no such addition. I develop an account that vindicates negative causation from within the framework of David Armstrong’s account of singular causation. His account is among the least amenable to the possibility of negative causation, and success from within the constraints of his theory generalizes to vindicate negative causation given other accounts of causation. On Armstrong’s view, the problem for negative causation is that absences can only be causes if there are negative states of affairs. However, I argue that certain negative truths can have as their truthmakers merely positive states of affairs. Since such states of affairs are those that are capable of entering into causal relations with other states of affairs, such negative truths are negative causal truths. pp. 27–42

Keywords: causation; absences; negative causation; D. M. Armstrong; genuinism; truthmakers

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Department of Philosophy,
Millikin University

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