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  1. Causal Foundationalism, Physical Causation, and Difference-Making.Luke Glynn - 2013 - Synthese 190 (6):1017-1037.
    An influential tradition in the philosophy of causation has it that all token causal facts are, or are reducible to, facts about difference-making. Challenges to this tradition have typically focused on pre-emption cases, in which a cause apparently fails to make a difference to its effect. However, a novel challenge to the difference-making approach has recently been issued by Alyssa Ney. Ney defends causal foundationalism, which she characterizes as the thesis that facts about difference-making depend upon facts about physical causation. (...)
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  • Causal Webs in Epidemiology.Federica Russo - unknown
    The notion of ‘causal web’ emerged in the epidemiological literature in the early Sixties and had to wait until the Nineties for a thorough critical appraisal. Famously, Nancy Krieger argued that such a notion isn’t helpful unless we specify what kind of spiders create the webs. This means, according to Krieger, (i) that the role of the spiders is to provide an explanation of the yarns of the web and (ii) that the sought spiders have to be biological and social. (...)
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  • What is Shannon Information?Olimpia Lombardi, Federico Holik & Leonardo Vanni - 2016 - Synthese 193 (7).
    Despite of its formal precision and its great many applications, Shannon’s theory still offers an active terrain of debate when the interpretation of its main concepts is the task at issue. In this article we try to analyze certain points that still remain obscure or matter of discussion, and whose elucidation contribute to the assessment of the different interpretative proposals about the concept of information. In particular, we argue for a pluralist position, according to which the different views about information (...)
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  • A Study in Metaphysics for Free Will: Using Models of Causality, Determinism and Supervenience in the Search for Free Will.David Robson - unknown
    We have two main aims: to construct mathematical models for analysing determinism, causality and supervenience; and then to use these to demonstrate the possibility of constructing an ontic construal of the operation of free will - one requiring both the presentation of genuine alternatives to an agent and their selecting between them in a manner that permits the attribution of responsibility. Determinism is modelled using trans-temporal ontic links between discrete juxtaposed universe states and shown to be distinct from predictability. Causality (...)
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  • Chasing Shadows: Natural Selection and Adaptation.D. M. Walsh - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 31 (1):135-153.
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  • Resemblance-Based Resources for Reductive Singularism (Or: How to Be a Humean Singularist About Causation).Jessica M. Wilson - 2009 - The Monist 92 (1):153-190.
    Hume argued that experience could not justify commonly held beliefs in singular causal effcacy, according to which individual or singular causes produce their effects or make their effects happen. Hume's discussion has been influential, as motivating the view that Causal reductionism (denying that causal efficacy is an irreducible feature of natural reality) requires Causal generalism (according to which causal relations are metaphysically constituted by patterns of events). Here I argue that causal reductionists---indeed, Hume himself---have previously unappreciated resources for making sense (...)
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  • The Future, and What Might Have Been.Graeme A. Forbes & R. A. Briggs - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (2):505-532.
    We show that five important elements of the ‘nomological package’— laws, counterfactuals, chances, dispositions, and counterfactuals—needn’t be a problem for the Growing-Block view. We begin with the framework given in Briggs and Forbes (in The real truth about the unreal future. Oxford studies in metaphysics. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2012 ), and, taking laws as primitive, we show that the Growing-Block view has the resources to provide an account of possibility, and a natural semantics for non-backtracking causal counterfactuals. We show (...)
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  • Transference, or Identity Theories of Causation?María José García-Encinas - 2010 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 19 (1):31-47.
    I argue that transference is, ultimately, identity over time, and that identity over time can't possibly be causation. Transference, then, fails as an analysis of causation.
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  • Why is the Transference Theory of Causation Insuffcient? The Challenge of the Aharonov-Bohm Effect.Vincent Ardourel & Alexandre Guay - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
    The transference theory reduces causation to the transmission of physical conserved quantities, like energy or momenta. Although this theory aims at applying to all felds of physics, we claim that it fails to account for a quantum electrodynamic effect, viz. the Aharonov-Bohm effect. After having argued that the Aharonov-Bohm effect is a genuine counter-example for the transference theory, we offer a new physicalist approach of causation, ontic and modal, in which this effect is embedded.
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  • The Deflationary View of Information Reloaded: Communication and Manipulability.Olimpia Lombardi & Cristian López - unknown
    Timpson’s deflationary view of information is an innovative and well articulated view that had a great impact on the philosophy of physics community. However, recently some of the arguments supporting the deflationist view have been critically reviewed. The aim of this paper is to retain the general idea behind Timpson’s proposal, but replacing the conflictive elements used to support his thesis with new argumentative resources based on the notion of manipulability.
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  • Information Channels and Biomarkers of Disease.Phyllis Illari & Federica Russo - 2016 - Topoi 35 (1):175-190.
    Current research in molecular epidemiology uses biomarkers to model the different disease phases from environmental exposure, to early clinical changes, to development of disease. The hope is to get a better understanding of the causal impact of a number of pollutants and chemicals on several diseases, including cancer and allergies. In a recent paper Russo and Williamson address the question of what evidential elements enter the conceptualisation and modelling stages of this type of biomarkers research. Recent research in causality has (...)
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  • Causes As Difference‐Makers For Processes.Christian Loew - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (1):89-106.
    It is natural to think of causes as difference-makers. What exact difference causes make, however, is an open question. In this paper, I argue that the right way of understanding difference-making is in terms of causal processes: causes make a difference to a causal process that leads to the effect. I will show that this way of understanding difference-making nicely captures the distinction between causing an outcome and helping determine how the outcome happens and, thus, explains why causation is not (...)
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  • Synthetic Biology and Genetic Causation.Gry Oftedal & Veli-Pekka Parkkinen - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (2):208-216.
    Synthetic biology research is often described in terms of programming cells through the introduction of synthetic genes. Genetic material is seemingly attributed with a high level of causal responsibility. We discuss genetic causation in synthetic biology and distinguish three gene concepts differing in their assumptions of genetic control. We argue that synthetic biology generally employs a difference-making approach to establishing genetic causes, and that this approach does not commit to a specific notion of genetic program or genetic control. Still, we (...)
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  • How to Tell Causes From Effects: Kant's Causal Theory of Time and Modern Approaches.M. Carrier - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 34 (1):59-71.
    I attempt a reconstruction of Kant's version of the causal theory of time that makes it appear coherent. Two problems are at issue. The first concerns Kant's reference to reciprocal causal influence for characterizing simultaneity. This approach is criticized by pointing out that Kant's procedure involves simultaneous counterdirected processes-which seems to run into circularity. The problem can be defused by drawing on instantaneous processes such as the propagation of gravitation in Newtonian mechanics. Another charge of circularity against Kant's causal theory (...)
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  • Causal Realism: Events and Processes.Anjan Chakravartty - 2005 - Erkenntnis 63 (1):7-31.
    Minimally, causal realism (as understood here) is the view that accounts of causation in terms of mere, regular or probabilistic conjunction are unsatisfactory, and that causal phenomena are correctly associated with some form of de re necessity. Classic arguments, however, some of which date back to Sextus Empiricus and have appeared many times since, including famously in Russell, suggest that the very notion of causal realism is incoherent. In this paper I argue that if such objections seem compelling, it is (...)
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  • A Pluralist Framework to Address Challenges to the Modern Synthesis in Evolutionary Theory.Philippe Huneman - 2014 - Biological Theory 9 (2):163-177.
    This paper uses formal Darwinism as elaborated by Alan Grafen to articulate an explanatory pluralism that casts light upon two strands of controversies running across evolutionary biology, viz., the place of organisms versus genes, and the role of adaptation. Formal Darwinism shows that natural selection can be viewed either physics-style, as a dynamics of alleles, or in the style of economics as an optimizing process. After presenting such pluralism, I argue first that whereas population genetics does not support optimization, optimality (...)
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  • Forms of Emergent Interaction in General Process Theory.Johanna Seibt - 2009 - Synthese 166 (3):479-512.
    General Process Theory (GPT) is a new (non-Whiteheadian) process ontology. According to GPT the domains of scientific inquiry and everyday practice consist of configurations of ‘goings-on’ or ‘dynamics’ that can be technically defined as concrete, dynamic, non-particular individuals called general processes. The paper offers a brief introduction to GPT in order to provide ontological foundations for research programs such as interactivism that centrally rely on the notions of ‘process,’ ‘interaction,’ and ‘emergence.’ I begin with an analysis of our common sense (...)
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  • EnviroGenomarkers: The Interplay Between Mechanisms and Difference Making in Establishing Causal Claims.Federica Russo & Jon Williamson - 2012 - Medicine Studies 3 (4):249-262.
    According to Russo and Williamson :157–170, 2007, Hist Philos Life Sci 33:389–396, 2011a, Philos Sci 1:47–69, 2011b), in order to establish a causal claim of the form, ‘C is a cause of E’, one typically needs evidence that there is an underlying mechanism between C and E as well as evidence that C makes a difference to E. This thesis has been used to argue that hierarchies of evidence, as championed by evidence-based movements, tend to give primacy to evidence of (...)
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  • Why the Counterfactualist Should Still Worry About Downward Causation.Lei Zhong - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (1):159-171.
    In Zhong (Philos Phenomenol Res 83:129–147, 2011; Analysis 72:75–85, 2012), I argued that, contrary to what many people might expect, the counterfactual theory of causation will generate (rather than solve) the exclusion problem. Recently some philosophers raise an incisive objection to this argument. They contend that my argument fails as it equivocates between different notions of a physical realizer (see Christensen and Kallestrup in Analysis 72:513–517, 2012). However, I find that their criticism doesn’t threaten the central idea of my view. (...)
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  • Can Determinable Properties Earn Their Keep?Robert Schroer - 2011 - Synthese 183 (2):229-247.
    Sydney Shoemaker's "Subset Account" offers a new take on determinable properties and the realization relation as well as a defense of non-reductive physicalism from the problem of mental causation. At the heart of this account are the claims that (1) mental properties are determinable properties and (2) the causal powers that individuate a determinable property are a proper subset of the causal powers that individuate the determinates of that property. The second claim, however, has led to the accusation that the (...)
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  • The Reduction of Causal Processes.Mariam Thalos - 2002 - Synthese 131 (1):99-128.
    The principle that causes always render their effects more likely is fundamental to the enterprise of reducing facts of causation to facts about (objective) chances. This reductionist enterprise faces famous difficulties in accommodating common-sense intuitions about causal processes, if it insists on cashing out causal processes in terms of streams of events in which every event that belongs to the stream is a cause of the adjoining event downstream of it. I shall propose modifications to this way of cashing out (...)
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  • Models of Intentional Explanation.Robrecht Vanderbeeken - 2004 - Philosophical Explorations 7 (3):233 – 246.
    The controversy about intentional explanation of action concerns how these explanations work. What kind of model allows us to capture the dependency or relevance relation between the explanans, i.e. the beliefs and desires of the agent, and the explanandum, i.e. the action? In this paper, I argue that the causal mechanical model can do the job. Causal mechanical intentional explanations consist in a reference to the mechanisms of practical reasoning of the agent that motivated the agent to act, i.e. to (...)
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  • What is a Negative Property?Sam Baron, Richard Copley-Coltheart, Raamy Majeed & Kristie Miller - 2013 - Philosophy 88 (1):33-54.
    This paper seeks to differentiate negative properties from positive properties, with the aim of providing the groundwork for further discussion about whether there is anything that corresponds to either of these notions. We differentiate negative and positive properties in terms of their functional role, before drawing out the metaphysical implications of proceeding in this fashion. We show that if the difference between negative and positive properties tabled here is correct, then negative properties are metaphysically contentious entities, entities that many philosophers (...)
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  • Negative Causation in Causal and Mechanistic Explanation.D. Benjamin Barros - 2013 - Synthese 190 (3):449-469.
    Instances of negative causation—preventions, omissions, and the like—have long created philosophical worries. In this paper, I argue that concerns about negative causation can be addressed in the context of causal explanation generally, and mechanistic explanation specifically. The gravest concern about negative causation is that it exacerbates the problem of causal promiscuity—that is, the problem that arises when a particular account of causation identifies too many causes for a particular effect. In the explanatory context, the problem of promiscuity can be solved (...)
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  • The Ontology of Causal Process Theories.Anton Froeyman - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (3):523-538.
    There is a widespread belief that the so-called process theories of causation developed by Wesley Salmon and Phil Dowe have given us an original account of what causation really is. In this paper, I show that this is a misconception. The notion of “causal process” does not offer us a new ontological account of causation. I make this argument by explicating the implicit ontological commitments in Salmon and Dowe’s theories. From this, it is clear that Salmon’s Mark Transmission Theory collapses (...)
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  • Real and Virtual Clinical Trials: A Formal Analysis.Barbara Osimani, Marta Bertolaso, Roland Poellinger & Emanuele Frontoni - forthcoming - Topoi:1-12.
    If well-designed, the results of a Randomised Clinical Trial can justify a causal claim between treatment and effect in the study population; however, additional information might be needed to carry over this result to another population. RCTs have been criticized exactly on grounds of failing to provide this sort of information Evidence, inference and enquiry. Oxford University Press, New York, 2011), as well as to black-box important details regarding the mechanisms underpinning the causal law instantiated by the RCT result. On (...)
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  • Common Causes and the Direction of Causation.Brad Weslake - 2005 - Minds and Machines 16 (3):239-257.
    Is the common cause principle merely one of a set of useful heuristics for discovering causal relations, or is it rather a piece of heavy duty metaphysics, capable of grounding the direction of causation itself? Since the principle was introduced in Reichenbach’s groundbreaking work The Direction of Time (1956), there have been a series of attempts to pursue the latter program—to take the probabilistic relationships constitutive of the principle of the common cause and use them to ground the direction of (...)
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  • On the Causal Completeness of Physics.Agustín Vicente - 2006 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (2):149 – 171.
    According to an increasing number of authors, the best, if not the only, argument in favour of physicalism is the so-called 'overdetermination argument'. This argument, if sound, establishes that all the entities that enter into causal interactions with the physical world are physical. One key premise in the overdetermination argument is the principle of the causal closure of the physical world, said to be supported by contemporary physics. In this paper, I examine various ways in which physics may support the (...)
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  • Causation: Empirical Trends and Future Directions.David Rose & David Danks - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (9):643-653.
    Empirical research has recently emerged as a key method for understanding the nature of causation, and our concept of causation. One thread of research aims to test intuitions about the nature of causation in a variety of classic cases. These experiments have principally been used to try to resolve certain debates within analytic philosophy, most notably that between proponents of transference and dependence views of causation. The other major thread of empirical research on our concept of causation has investigated the (...)
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  • Quantum Gravity, Timelessness, and the Contents of Thought.David Braddon-Mitchell & Kristie Miller - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-23.
    A number of recent theories of quantum gravity lack a one-dimensional structure of ordered temporal instants. Instead, according to many of these views, our world is either best represented as a single three-dimensional object, or as a configuration space composed of such three-dimensional objects, none of which bear temporal relations to one another. Such theories will be empirically self-refuting unless they can accommodate the existence of conscious beings capable of representation. For if representation itself is impossible in a timeless world, (...)
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  • Causation in a Timeless World.Sam Baron & Kristie Miller - 2014 - Synthese 191 (12):2867-2886.
    This paper offers a new way to evaluate counterfactual conditionals on the supposition that actually, there is no time. We then parlay this method of evaluation into a way of evaluating causal claims. Our primary aim is to preserve, at a minimum, the assertibility of certain counterfactual and causal claims once time has been excised from reality. This is an important first step in a more general reconstruction project that has two important components. First, recovering our ordinary language claims involving (...)
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  • Mechanistic Theories of Causality Part I.Jon Williamson - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (6):421-432.
    Part I of this paper introduces a range of mechanistic theories of causality, including process theories and the complex-systems theories, and some of the problems they face. Part II argues that while there is a decisive case against a purely mechanistic analysis, a viable theory of causality must incorporate mechanisms as an ingredient, and describes one way of providing an analysis of causality which reaps the rewards of the mechanistic approach without succumbing to its pitfalls.
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  • Truthmakers for Negative Truths.George Molnar - 2000 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 78 (1):72 – 86.
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  • Scientific W-Explanation as Ampliative, Specialized Embedding: A Neo-Hempelian Account.José Díez - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S8):1413-1443.
    The goal of this paper is to present and defend an empiricist, neo-Hempelian account of scientific explanation as ampliative, specialized embedding. The proposal aims to preserve what I take to be the core of Hempel’s empiricist account, by weakening it in some respects and strengthening it in others, introducing two new conditions that solve most of Hempel’s problems without abandoning his empiricist strictures. According to this proposal, to explain a phenomenon is to make it expectable by introducing new conceptual/ontological machinery (...)
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  • A Priori Causal Laws.Darren Bradley - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (4):358-370.
    Sober and Elgin defend the claim that there are a priori causal laws in biology. Lange and Rosenberg take issue with this on Humean grounds, among others. I will argue that Sober and Elgin don’t go far enough – there are a priori causal laws in many sciences. Furthermore, I will argue that this thesis is compatible with a Humean metaphysics and an empiricist epistemology.
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  • The Causal Metaphor Account of Metaphysical Explanation.Jonathan Shaheen - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (3):553-578.
    This paper argues that the semantic facts about ‘because’ are best explained via a metaphorical treatment of metaphysical explanation that treats causal explanation as explanation par excellence. Along the way, it defends a commitment to a unified causal sense of ‘because’ and offers a proprietary explanation of grounding skepticism. With the causal metaphor account of metaphysical explanation on the table, an extended discussion of the relationship between conceptual structure and metaphysics ends with a suggestion that the semantic facts about ‘because’ (...)
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  • Metaphysical Causation.Alastair Wilson - 2018 - Noûs:723-751.
    There is a systematic and suggestive analogy between grounding and causation. In my view, this analogy is no coincidence. Grounding and causation are alike because grounding is a type of causation: metaphysical causation. In this paper I defend the identification of grounding with metaphysical causation, drawing on the causation literature to explore systematic connections between grounding and metaphysical dependence counterfactuals, and I outline a non-reductive counterfactual theory of grounding along interventionist lines.
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  • Populations and Pigeons: Prosaic Pluralism About Evolutionary Causes.Marshall Abrams - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):294-301.
    and was correct to conclude that the way a biological population is described should affect conclusions about whether natural selection occurs, but wrong to conclude that natural selection is therefore not a cause. After providing a new argument that ignored crucial biological details, I give a biological illustration that motivates a fairly extreme dependence on description. I argue that contrary to an implication of , biologists allow much flexibility in describing populations, as contemporary research on recent human evolution shows. Properly (...)
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  • On Closing the Gap Between Philosophical Concepts and Their Usage in Scientific Practice: A Lesson From the Debate About Natural Selection as a Mechanism.Lucas J. Matthews - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 55:21-28.
    In addition to theorizing about the role and value of mechanisms in scientific explanation or the causal structure of the world, there is a fundamental task of getting straight what a ‘mechanism’ is in the first place. Broadly, this paper is about the challenge of application: the challenge of aligning one's philosophical account of a scientific concept with the manner in which that concept is actually used in scientific practice. This paper considers a case study of the challenge of application (...)
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  • Why Theories of Causality Need Production : An Information Transmission Account.Phyllis Illari - 2011 - Philosophy and Technology 24 (2):95-114.
    In this paper, I examine the comparatively neglected intuition of production regarding causality. I begin by examining the weaknesses of current production accounts of causality. I then distinguish between giving a good production account of causality and a good account of production. I argue that an account of production is needed to make sense of vital practices in causal inference. Finally, I offer an information transmission account of production based on John Collier’s work that solves the primary weaknesses of current (...)
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  • Causality, Explanatoriness, and Understanding as Modeling.Franz-Peter Griesmaier - 2006 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 37 (1):41-59.
    The paper investigates the question as to which features of hypotheses make them explanatory. Given the intuitive appeal of causal explanations, one might suspect that explanatoriness is deeply connected with causation. I argue in detail that this is wrong by showing that none of the dominant analyses of causation are suited for general accounts of explanatoriness. In the second part, I provide the outlines of an account of explanatoriness that connects it with scientific understanding, which in turn is argued to (...)
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  • A Physical Critique of Physical Causation.Tracy Lupher - 2009 - Synthese 167 (1):67 - 80.
    The conserved quantities theory of causation (CQTC) attempts to use physics as the basis for an account of causation. However, a closer examination of the physics involved in CQTC reveals several critical failures. Some of the conserved quantities in physics cannot be used to distinguish causal interactions. Other conserved quantities cannot always be the properties of fields or particles. Finally, CQCT does not account for causal interactions that are static.
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  • Chasing Shadows: Natural Selection and Adaptation.D. M. Walsh - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 31 (1):135-53.
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  • What's Right and What's Wrong with Transference Theories.Phil Dowe - 1995 - Erkenntnis 42 (3):363 - 374.
    This paper examines the Transference Theory of causation, developed originally by Aronson (1971) and Fair (1979). Three difficulties for that theory are presented: firstly, problems associated with the direction of transference and causal asymmetry; secondly, the case of persistence as causation, for example where a body's own inertia is the cause of its motion; and thirdly the problematic notion of identity through time of physical quantities such as energy or momentum. Finally, the theory is compared with the Conserved Quantity Theory (...)
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  • A Contextual Approach to Scientific Understanding.Henk Regt & Dennis Dieks - 2005 - Synthese 144 (1):137-170.
    Achieving understanding of nature is one of the aims of science. In this paper we offer an analysis of the nature of scientific understanding that accords with actual scientific practice and accommodates the historical diversity of conceptions of understanding. Its core idea is a general criterion for the intelligibility of scientific theories that is essentially contextual: which theories conform to this criterion depends on contextual factors, and can change in the course of time. Our analysis provides a general account of (...)
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