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  1. added 2018-05-30
    Newton's Regulae Philosophandi.Zvi Biener - 2018 - In Chris Smeenk & Eric Schliesser (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Isaac Newton. Oxford University Press.
    Newton’s Regulae philosophandi—the rules for reasoning in natural philosophy—are maxims of causal reasoning and induction. This essay reviews their significance for Newton’s method of inquiry, as well as their application to particular propositions within the Principia. Two main claims emerge. First, the rules are not only interrelated, they defend various facets of the same core idea: that nature is simple and orderly by divine decree, and that, consequently, human beings can be justified in inferring universal causes from limited phenomena, if (...)
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  2. added 2018-05-29
    Social Cognition as Causal Inference: Implications for Common Knowledge and Autism.Jakob Hohwy & Colin Palmer - forthcoming - In John Michael & Mattia Gallotti (eds.), Social Objects and Social Cognition. Springer.
    This chapter explores the idea that the need to establish common knowledge is one feature that makes social cognition stand apart in important ways from cognition in general. We develop this idea on the background of the claim that social cognition is nothing but a type of causal inference. We focus on autism as our test-case, and propose that a specific type of problem with common knowledge processing is implicated in challenges to social cognition in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This (...)
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  3. added 2018-05-29
    Intervention, Causal Reasoning, and the Neurobiology of Mental Disorders: Pharmacological Drugs as Experimental Instruments.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (2):542-551.
    In psychiatry, pharmacological drugs play an important experimental role in attempts to identify the neurobiological causes of mental disorders. Besides being developed in applied contexts as potential treatments for patients with mental disorders, pharmacological drugs play a crucial role in research contexts as experimental instruments that facilitate the formulation and revision of neurobiological theories of psychopathology. This paper examines the various epistemic functions that pharmacological drugs serve in the discovery, refinement, testing, and elaboration of neurobiological theories of mental disorders. I (...)
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  4. added 2018-05-15
    Path-Specific Effects.Naftali Weinberger - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    A cause may influence its effect via multiple paths. Paradigmatically (Hesslow [1974]), taking birth control pills both decreases one’s risk of thrombosis by preventing pregnancy and increases it by producing a blood chemical. Building on Pearl ([2001]), I explicate the notion of a path-specific effect. Roughly, a path-specific effect of C on E via path P is the degree to which a change in C would change E were they to be transmitted only via P. Facts about such effects may (...)
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  5. added 2018-05-15
    Folk Intuitions of Actual Causation: A Two-Pronged Debunking Explanation.David Rose - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1323-1361.
    How do we determine whether some candidate causal factor is an actual cause of some particular outcome? Many philosophers have wanted a view of actual causation which fits with folk intuitions of actual causation and those who wish to depart from folk intuitions of actual causation are often charged with the task of providing a plausible account of just how and where the folk have gone wrong. In this paper, I provide a range of empirical evidence aimed at showing just (...)
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  6. added 2018-04-26
    Manipulating Morality: Third‐Party Intentions Alter Moral Judgments by Changing Causal Reasoning.Jonathan Phillips & Alex Shaw - 2014 - Cognitive Science 38 (8):1320-1347.
    The present studies investigate how the intentions of third parties influence judgments of moral responsibility for other agents who commit immoral acts. Using cases in which an agent acts under some situational constraint brought about by a third party, we ask whether the agent is blamed less for the immoral act when the third party intended for that act to occur. Study 1 demonstrates that third-party intentions do influence judgments of blame. Study 2 finds that third-party intentions only influence moral (...)
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  7. added 2018-04-26
    Tool Use and Causal Cognition: An Introduction.Teresa McCormack, Christoph Hoerl & Stephen Andrew Butterfill - 2011 - In Teresa McCormack, Christoph Hoerl & Stephen Andrew Butterfill (eds.), Tool Use and Causal Cognition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 1-17.
    This chapter begins with a discussion of the significance of studies of aspects of tool use in understanding causal cognition. It argues that tool use studies reveal the most basic type or causal understanding being put to use, in a way that studies that focus on learning statistical relationships between cause and effect or studies of perceptual causation do not. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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  8. added 2018-04-26
    Children's Reasoning About the Causal Significance of the Temporal Order of Events.Teresa McCormack & Christoph Hoerl - 2005 - Developmental Psychology 41:54-63.
    Four experiments examined children's ability to reason about the causal significance of the order in which 2 events occurred (the pressing of buttons on a mechanically operated box). In Study 1, 4-year-olds were unable to make the relevant inferences, whereas 5-year-olds were successful on one version of the task. In Study 2, 3-year-olds were successful on a simplified version of the task in which they were able to observe the events although not their consequences. Study 3 found that older children (...)
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  9. added 2018-04-15
    Commentary on Mathias Frisch's Causal Reasoning in Physics.Ney Alyssa - manuscript
    This is a commentary on Mathias Frisch's book Causal Reasoning in Physics (Cambridge 2014). This commentary was presented at the 2016 Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association in a session sponsored by the Society for the Metaphysics of Science.
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  10. added 2018-04-15
    Causal Reasoning.Christoph Hoerl - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 152 (2):167-179.
    The main focus of this paper is the question as to what it is for an individual to think of her environment in terms of a concept of causation, or causal concepts, in contrast to some more primitive ways in which an individual might pick out or register what are in fact causal phenomena. I show how versions of this question arise in the context of two strands of work on causation, represented by Elizabeth Anscombe and Christopher Hitchcock, respectively. I (...)
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  11. added 2018-04-15
    Perception, Causal Understanding, and Locality.Christoph Hoerl - 2011 - In Johannes Roessler, Hemdat Lerman & Naomi Eilan (eds.), Perception, Causation, and Objectivity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 207-228.
    Contemporary philosophical debates about causation are dominated by two approaches, which are often referred to as difference-making and causal process approaches to causation, respectively. I provide a characterization of the dialectic between these two approaches, on which that dialectic turns crucially on the question as to whether our common sense concept of causation involves a commitment to locality – i.e., to the claim that causal relations are always subject to spatial constraints. I then argue that we can extract from existing (...)
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  12. added 2018-04-15
    A Cognitive Neuroscience Framework for Understanding Causal Reasoning and the Law.Jonathan A. Fugelsang & Kevin N. Dunbar - 2006 - In Semir Zeki & Oliver Goodenough (eds.), Law and the Brain. Oxford University Press. pp. 157--166.
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  13. added 2018-02-16
    Causal Superseding.Jonathan F. Kominsky, Jonathan Phillips, Tobias Gerstenberg, David Lagnado & Joshua Knobe - 2015 - Cognition 137:196-209.
    When agents violate norms, they are typically judged to be more of a cause of resulting outcomes. In this paper, we suggest that norm violations also affect the causality attributed to other agents, a phenomenon we refer to as "causal superseding." We propose and test a counterfactual reasoning model of this phenomenon in four experiments. Experiments 1 and 2 provide an initial demonstration of the causal superseding effect and distinguish it from previously studied effects. Experiment 3 shows that this causal (...)
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  14. added 2018-02-12
    Causal Graphs and Biological Mechanisms.Alexander Gebharter & Marie I. Kaiser - 2014 - In Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver Scholz, Daniel Plenge & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Explanation in the special sciences: The case of biology and history. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 55-86.
    Modeling mechanisms is central to the biological sciences – for purposes of explanation, prediction, extrapolation, and manipulation. A closer look at the philosophical literature reveals that mechanisms are predominantly modeled in a purely qualitative way. That is, mechanistic models are conceived of as representing how certain entities and activities are spatially and temporally organized so that they bring about the behavior of the mechanism in question. Although this adequately characterizes how mechanisms are represented in biology textbooks, contemporary biological research practice (...)
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  15. added 2018-01-05
    The Problem of Evaluating Automated Large-Scale Evidence Aggregators.Nicolas Wüthrich & Katie Steele - forthcoming - Synthese:1-28.
    In the biomedical context, policy makers face a large amount of potentially discordant evidence from different sources. This prompts the question of how this evidence should be aggregated in the interests of best-informed policy recommendations. The starting point of our discussion is Hunter and Williams’ recent work on an automated aggregation method for medical evidence. Our negative claim is that it is far from clear what the relevant criteria for evaluating an evidence aggregator of this sort are. What is the (...)
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  16. added 2017-02-15
    On the Limits of Causal Modeling: Spatially-Structurally Complex Biological Phenomena.Marie I. Kaiser - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (5):921-933.
    This paper examines the adequacy of causal graph theory as a tool for modeling biological phenomena and formalizing biological explanations. I point out that the causal graph approach reaches it limits when it comes to modeling biological phenomena that involve complex spatial and structural relations. Using a case study from molecular biology, DNA-binding and -recognition of proteins, I argue that causal graph models fail to adequately represent and explain causal phenomena in this field. The inadequacy of these models is due (...)
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  17. added 2017-01-16
    Notes on the Use of Randomised Controlled Trials to Evaluate Complex Interventions: Community Treatment Orders as an Illustrative Case.Feras Ali Mustafa - 2017 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 23 (1):185-192.
    Over the past seven decades, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) have revolutionised clinical research and achieved a gold standard status. However, extending their use to evaluate complex interventions is problematic. In this paper we will demonstrate that complex intervention RCTs violate the necessary premises that govern the RCTs logic and underpin their rigour. The lack of blinding, heterogeneity of participants, as well as poor treatment standardisation and difficulty of controlling for confounders, which characterise complex intervention RCTs, can potentially be profoundly detrimental (...)
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  18. added 2016-11-08
    Pearson’s Wrong Turning: Against Statistical Measures of Causal Efficacy.Robert Northcott - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):900-912.
    Standard statistical measures of strength of association, although pioneered by Pearson deliberately to be acausal, nowadays are routinely used to measure causal efficacy. But their acausal origins have left them ill suited to this latter purpose. I distinguish between two different conceptions of causal efficacy, and argue that: 1) Both conceptions can be useful 2) The statistical measures only attempt to capture the first of them 3) They are not fully successful even at this 4) An alternative definition more squarely (...)
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  19. added 2016-11-01
    How Norms Make Causes.Maria Kronfeldner - 2014 - International Journal of Epidemiology 43:1707–1713.
    This paper is on the problem of causal selection and comments on Collingwood's classic paper "The so-called idea of causation". It discusses the relevance of Collingwood’s control principle in contemporary life sciences and defends that it is not the ability to control, but the willingness to control that often biases us towards some rather than other causes of a phenomenon. Willingness to control is certainly only one principle that influences causal selection, but it is an important one. It shows how (...)
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  20. added 2016-08-20
    Aggregating Causal Judgments.Richard Bradley, Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (4):491-515.
    Decision-making typically requires judgments about causal relations: we need to know the causal effects of our actions and the causal relevance of various environmental factors. We investigate how several individuals' causal judgments can be aggregated into collective causal judgments. First, we consider the aggregation of causal judgments via the aggregation of probabilistic judgments, and identify the limitations of this approach. We then explore the possibility of aggregating causal judgments independently of probabilistic ones. Formally, we introduce the problem of causal-network aggregation. (...)
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  21. added 2016-05-16
    Cause by Omission and Norm: Not Watering Plants.Paul Henne, Ángel Pinillos & Felipe De Brigard - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2):270-283.
    People generally accept that there is causation by omission—that the omission of some events cause some related events. But this acceptance elicits the selection problem, or the difficulty of explaining the selection of a particular omissive cause or class of causes from the causal conditions. Some theorists contend that dependence theories of causation cannot resolve this problem. In this paper, we argue that the appeal to norms adequately resolves the selection problem for dependence theories, and we provide novel experimental evidence (...)
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  22. added 2016-03-31
    How Effects Depend on Their Causes, Why Causal Transitivity Fails, and Why We Care About Causation.Gunnar Björnsson - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 133 (3):349-390.
    Despite recent efforts to improve on counterfactual theories of causation, failures to explain how effects depend on their causes are still manifest in a variety of cases. In particular, theories that do a decent job explaining cases of causal preemption have problems accounting for cases of causal intransitivity. Moreover, the increasing complexity of the counterfactual accounts makes it difficult to see why the concept of causation would be such a central part of our cognition. In this paper, I propose an (...)
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  23. added 2015-08-30
    Cue Competition Effects and Young Children's Causal and Counterfactual Inferences.Teresa McCormack, Stephen Andrew Butterfill, Christoph Hoerl & Patrick Burns - 2009 - Developmental Psychology 45 (6):1563-1575.
    The authors examined cue competition effects in young children using the blicket detector paradigm, in which objects are placed either singly or in pairs on a novel machine and children must judge which objects have the causal power to make the machine work. Cue competition effects were found in a 5- to 6-year-old group but not in a 4-year-old group. Equivalent levels of forward and backward blocking were found in the former group. Children's counterfactual judgments were subsequently examined by asking (...)
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  24. added 2015-08-24
    The Epistemology of Causal Selection: Insights From Systems Biology.Beckett Sterner - forthcoming - In C. Kenneth Waters (ed.), Causal Reasoning in Biology. University of Minnesota Press.
    Among the many causes of an event, how do we distinguish the important ones? Are there ways to distinguish among causes on principled grounds that integrate both practical aims and objective knowledge? Psychologist Tania Lombrozo has suggested that causal explanations “identify factors that are ‘exportable’ in the sense that they are likely to subserve future prediction and intervention” (Lombrozo 2010, 327). Hence portable causes are more important precisely because they provide objective information to prediction and intervention as practical aims. However, (...)
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  25. added 2015-06-29
    An Improved Probabilistic Account of Counterfactual Reasoning.Christopher G. Lucas & Charles Kemp - 2015 - Psychological Review 122 (4):700-734.
    When people want to identify the causes of an event, assign credit or blame, or learn from their mistakes, they often reflect on how things could have gone differently. In this kind of reasoning, one considers a counterfactual world in which some events are different from their real-world counterparts and considers what else would have changed. Researchers have recently proposed several probabilistic models that aim to capture how people do (or should) reason about counterfactuals. We present a new model and (...)
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  26. added 2015-04-27
    The Good, the Bad, and the Timely: How Temporal Order and Moral Judgment Influence Causal Selection.Kevin Reuter, Lara Kirfel, Raphael van Riel & Luca Barlassina - 2014 - Frontiers in Psychology 5:1-10.
    Causal selection is the cognitive process through which one or more elements in a complex causal structure are singled out as actual causes of a certain effect. In this paper, we report on an experiment in which we investigated the role of moral and temporal factors in causal selection. Our results are as follows. First, when presented with a temporal chain in which two human agents perform the same action one after the other, subjects tend to judge the later agent (...)
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  27. added 2015-01-08
    Experimental Philosophy and Causal Attribution.Jonathan Livengood & David Rose - 2016 - In Justin Sytsma & Wesley Buckwalter (eds.), A Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Blackwell.
    Humans often attribute the things that happen to one or another actual cause. In this chapter, we survey some recent philosophical and psychological research on causal attribution. We pay special attention to the relation between graphical causal modeling and theories of causal attribution. We think that the study of causal attribution is one place where formal and experimental techniques nicely complement one another.
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  28. added 2014-04-02
    Causation, Norm Violation, and Culpable Control.Alicke Mark, Rose David & Bloom Dori - 2011 - Journal of Philosophy 108 (12):670-696.
    Causation is one of philosophy's most venerable and thoroughly-analyzed concepts. However, the study of how ordinary people make causal judgments is a much more recent addition to the philosophical arsenal. One of the most prominent views of causal explanation, especially in the realm of harmful or potentially harmful behavior, is that unusual or counternormative events are accorded privileged status in ordinary causal explanations. This is a fundamental assumption in psychological theories of counterfactual reasoning, and has been transported to philosophy by (...)
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  29. added 2014-03-03
    The Problem of Piecemeal Induction.Conor Mayo-Wilson - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):864-874.
    It is common to assume that the problem of induction arises only because of small sample sizes or unreliable data. In this paper, I argue that the piecemeal collection of data can also lead to underdetermination of theories by evidence, even if arbitrarily large amounts of completely reliable experimental and observational data are collected. Specifically, I focus on the construction of causal theories from the results of many studies (perhaps hundreds), including randomized controlled trials and observational studies, where the studies (...)
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  30. added 2014-03-01
    Intentionality, Evaluative Judgments, and Causal Structure.Jason Shepard & Wolff Phillip - 2013 - Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society 35:3390-3395.
    The results from a number of recent studies suggest that ascriptions of intentionality are based on evaluative considerations: specifically, that the likelihood of viewing a person’s actions as intentional is greater when the outcome is bad than good (see Knobe, 2006, 2010). In this research we provide an alternative explanation for these findings, one based on the idea that ascriptions of intentionality depend on causal structure. As predicted by the causal structure view, we observed that actions leading to bad outcomes (...)
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  31. added 2013-12-23
    Demoralizing Causation.David Danks, David Rose & Edouard Machery - 2013 - Philosophical Studies (2):1-27.
    There have recently been a number of strong claims that normative considerations, broadly construed, influence many philosophically important folk concepts and perhaps are even a constitutive component of various cognitive processes. Many such claims have been made about the influence of such factors on our folk notion of causation. In this paper, we argue that the strong claims found in the recent literature on causal cognition are overstated, as they are based on one narrow type of data about a particular (...)
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  32. added 2010-11-26
    Person as Scientist, Person as Moralist.Joshua Knobe - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):315.
    It has often been suggested that people’s ordinary capacities for understanding the world make use of much the same methods one might find in a formal scientific investigation. A series of recent experimental results offer a challenge to this widely-held view, suggesting that people’s moral judgments can actually influence the intuitions they hold both in folk psychology and in causal cognition. The present target article distinguishes two basic approaches to explaining such effects. One approach would be to say that the (...)
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  33. added 2008-12-31
    Causal Contextualisms.Jonathan Schaffer - 2012 - In Martijn Blaauw (ed.), Contrastivism in Philosophy: New Perspectives. Routledge.
    Causal claims are context sensitive. According to the old orthodoxy (Mackie 1974, Lewis 1986, inter alia), the context sensitivity of causal claims is all due to conversational pragmatics. According to the new contextualists (Hitchcock 1996, Woodward 2003, Maslen 2004, Menzies 2004, Schaffer 2005, and Hall ms), at least some of the context sensitivity of causal claims is semantic in nature. I want to discuss the prospects for causal contextualism, by asking why causal claims are context sensitive, what they are sensitive (...)
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