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  1. Justifying Sociological Knowledge: From Realism to Interpretation.Isaac Reed - 2008 - Sociological Theory 26 (2):101-129.
    In the context of calls for "postpositivist" sociology, realism has emerged as a powerful and compelling epistemology for social science. In transferring and transforming scientific realism --a philosophy of natural science--into a justificatory discourse for social science, realism splits into two parts: a strict, highly naturalistic realism and a reflexive, more mediated, and critical realism. Both forms of realism, however, suffer from conceptual ambiguities, omissions, and elisions that make them an inappropriate epistemology for social science. Examination of these problems in (...)
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  • Preface.Raphael van Riel & Albert Newen - 2011 - Philosophia Naturalis 48 (1):5-8.
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  • Mechanisms: What Are They Evidence for in Evidence-Based Medicine?Holly Andersen - 2012 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 18 (5):992-999.
    Even though the evidence‐based medicine movement (EBM) labels mechanisms a low quality form of evidence, consideration of the mechanisms on which medicine relies, and the distinct roles that mechanisms might play in clinical practice, offers a number of insights into EBM itself. In this paper, I examine the connections between EBM and mechanisms from several angles. I diagnose what went wrong in two examples where mechanistic reasoning failed to generate accurate predictions for how a dysfunctional mechanism would respond to intervention. (...)
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  • Erklärung und Kausalität.Max Kistler - 2002 - Philosophia Naturalis 39 (1):89-109.
    Causation is analysed in terms of transference of amounts of conserved quantities between events. Such amounts are tropes. However, causal explanations are directly made true, not by transmission relations but by relations of causal responsibility, of a fact Fc about the cause event c for a fact Ge about the effect event e. Causal responsibility is analysed in terms of causation between events c and e and a law of nature holding between the properties F and G. This account overcomes (...)
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  • Functions: Consensus Without Unity.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 1993 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 74 (3):196-208.
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  • Ulcers and Bacteria I: Discovery and Acceptance.Paul Thagard - 1998 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 29 (1):107-136.
    In 1983, Dr. J. Robin Warren and Dr. Barry Marshall reported finding a new kind of bacteria in the stomachs of people with gastritis. Warren and Marshall were soon led to the hypothesis that peptic ulcers are generally caused, not by excess acidity or stress, but by a bacterial infection. Initially, this hypothesis was viewed as preposterous, and it is still somewhat controversial. In 1994, however, a U. S. National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Panel concluded that infection appears to (...)
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  • Epistemic Theories of Objective Chance.Richard Johns - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Epistemic theories of objective chance hold that chances are idealised epistemic probabilities of some sort. After giving a brief history of this approach to objective chance, I argue for a particular version of this view, that the chance of an event E is its epistemic probability, given maximal knowledge of the possible causes of E. The main argument for this view is the demonstration that it entails all of the commonly-accepted properties of chance. For example, this analysis entails that chances (...)
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  • Why Causal Evidencing of Risk Fails. An Example From Oil Contamination.Elena Rocca & Rani Lill Anjum - 2019 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 22 (2):197-213.
    ABSTRACTMeasurements of environmental toxicity from long-term exposure to oil contamination have delivered inaccurate and contradictory results regarding the potential harms for humans and ecosyste...
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  • Causal Inference in Quantum Mechanics: A Reassessment.Mauricio Suárez - 2007 - In Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality and Probability in the Sciences. College Publications. pp. 65-106.
    There has been an intense discussion, albeit largely an implicit one, concerning the inference of causal hypotheses from statistical correlations in quantum mechanics ever since John Bell’s first statement of his notorious theorem in 1966. As is well known, its focus has mainly been the so-called Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (“EPR”) thought experiment, and the ensuing observed correlations in real EPR like experiments. But although implicitly the discussion goes as far back as Bell’s work, it is only in the last two decades that (...)
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  • The New Mechanical Philosophy: By Stuart Glennan, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2017, Xii + 266 Pp., ISBN 9780198779711, £30.00, US$40.95.Lena Kästner - 2019 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 32 (1):69-72.
    Volume 32, Issue 1, March 2019, Page 69-72.
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  • A Puzzle About Economic Explanation: Examining the Cournot and Bertrand Models of Duopoly Competition.Jonathan Nebel - 2017 - Dissertation, Kansas State University
    Economists use various models to explain why it is that firms are capable of pricing above marginal cost. In this paper, we will examine two of them: the Cournot and Bertrand duopoly models. Economists generally accept both models as good explanations of the phenomenon, but the two models contradict each other in various important ways. The puzzle is that two inconsistent explanations are both regarded as good explanations for the same phenomenon. This becomes especially worrisome when the two models are (...)
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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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  • What Can Polysemy Tell Us About Theories of Explanation?Maria Şerban - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (1):41-56.
    Philosophical accounts of scientific explanation are broadly divided into ontic and epistemic views. This paper explores the idea that the lexical ambiguity of the verb to explain and its nominalisation supports an ontic conception of explanation. I analyse one argument which challenges this strategy by criticising the claim that explanatory talk is lexically ambiguous, 375–394, 2012). I propose that the linguistic mechanism of transfer of meaning, 109–132, 1995) provides a better account of the lexical alternations that figure in the systematic (...)
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  • Discovering Brain Mechanisms Using Network Analysis and Causal Modeling.Matteo Colombo & Naftali Weinberger - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (2):265-286.
    Mechanist philosophers have examined several strategies scientists use for discovering causal mechanisms in neuroscience. Findings about the anatomical organization of the brain play a central role in several such strategies. Little attention has been paid, however, to the use of network analysis and causal modeling techniques for mechanism discovery. In particular, mechanist philosophers have not explored whether and how these strategies incorporate information about the anatomical organization of the brain. This paper clarifies these issues in the light of the distinction (...)
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  • Causal Processes and Propensities in Quantum Mechanics.Mauricio Suárez - 2004 - Theoria 19 (3):271-300.
    In an influential article published in 1982, Bas Van Fraassen developed an argument against causal realism on the basis of an analysis of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen correlations of quantum mechanics. Several philosophers of science and experts in causal inference -including some causal realists like Wesley Salmon- have accepted Van Fraassen’s argument, interpreting it as a proof that the quantum correlations cannot be given any causal model. In this paper I argue that Van Fraassen’s article can also be interpreted as a good (...)
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  • No solo causalidad en el mundo físico: ontología y metodología pseudocausal.Wilfredo Quezada & Luis Pavez F. - 2016 - Revista de Humanidades de Valparaíso 8:163.
    En este trabajo mostramos que ciertas tesis sobre pseudoprocesos causales, procesos cuya característica prominente parece ser superar la velocidad de la luz, y que han sido defendidas por autores trabajando en causalidad física, deben ser cuestionadas o seriamente modificadas. Para cumplir nuestro propósito, mostraremos, en primer lugar, cómo modelar por igual pseudoprocesos y timewise gerrymanders en relatividad especial. En segundo lugar, argumentaremos que hay una sola categoría de no-entidades causales y que no hay nada en la relatividad que parezca justificar (...)
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  • The Mind as Neural Software? Understanding Functionalism, Computationalism, and Computational Functionalism.Gualtiero Piccinini - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (2):269-311.
    Defending or attacking either functionalism or computationalism requires clarity on what they amount to and what evidence counts for or against them. My goalhere is not to evaluatc their plausibility. My goal is to formulate them and their relationship clearly enough that we can determine which type of evidence is relevant to them. I aim to dispel some sources of confusion that surround functionalism and computationalism. recruit recent philosophical work on mechanisms and computation to shed light on them, and clarify (...)
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  • An Ontic Account of Explanatory Reduction in Biology.Marie I. Kaiser - unknown
    Convincing disputes about explanatory reductionism in the philosophy of biology require a clear and precise understanding of what a reductive explanation in biology is. The central aim of this book is to provide such an account by revealing the features that determine the reductive character of a biological explanation. Chapters I-IV provide the ground, on which I can then, in Chapter V, develop my own account of explanatory reduction in biology: Chapter I reveals the meta-philosophical assumptions that underlie my analysis (...)
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  • Infinitesimal Idealization, Easy Road Nominalism, and Fractional Quantum Statistics.Elay Shech - 2019 - Synthese 196 (5):1963-1990.
    It has been recently debated whether there exists a so-called “easy road” to nominalism. In this essay, I attempt to fill a lacuna in the debate by making a connection with the literature on infinite and infinitesimal idealization in science through an example from mathematical physics that has been largely ignored by philosophers. Specifically, by appealing to John Norton’s distinction between idealization and approximation, I argue that the phenomena of fractional quantum statistics bears negatively on Mary Leng’s proposed path to (...)
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  • It's Just a Feeling: Why Economic Models Do Not Explain.Anna Alexandrova & Robert Northcott - 2013 - Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (3):262 - 267.
    Julian Reiss correctly identified a trilemma about economic models: we cannot maintain that they are false, but nevertheless explain and that only true accounts explain. In this reply we give reasons to reject the second premise ? that economic models explain. Intuitions to the contrary should be distrusted.
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  • Backwards Explanation.C. S. Jenkins & Daniel Nolan - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 140 (1):103 - 115.
    We discuss explanation of an earlier event by a later event, and argue that prima facie cases of backwards event explanation are ubiquitous. Some examples: (1) I am tidying my flat because my brother is coming to visit tomorrow. (2) The scarlet pimpernels are closing because it is about to rain. (3) The volcano is smoking because it is going to erupt soon. We then look at various ways people might attempt to explain away these prima facie cases by arguing (...)
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  • What Strong Sociologists Can Learn From Critical Realism: Bloor on the History of Aerodynamics.Christopher Norris - 2014 - Journal of Critical Realism 13 (1):3-37.
    This essay presents a long, detailed, in many ways critical but also appreciative account, of David Bloor’s recent book The Enigma of the Aerofoil. I take that work as the crowning statement of ideas and principles developed over the past four decades by Bloor and other exponents of the ‘strong programme’ in the sociology of scientific knowledge. It therefore offers both a test-case of that approach and a welcome opportunity to review, clarify and extend some of the arguments brought against (...)
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  • Grounding-Mechanical Explanation.Kelly Trogdon - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1289-1309.
    Characterization of a form of explanation involving grounding on the model of mechanistic causal explanation.
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  • In Search of the Philosopher's Stone: Remarks on Humphreys and Freedman's Critique of Causal Discovery.Kevin B. Korb & Chris S. Wallace - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (4):543-553.
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  • Model-Based Cognitive Neuroscience: Multifield Mechanistic Integration in Practice.Mark Povich - forthcoming - Theory & Psychology.
    Autonomist accounts of cognitive science suggest that cognitive model building and theory construction (can or should) proceed independently of findings in neuroscience. Common functionalist justifications of autonomy rely on there being relatively few constraints between neural structure and cognitive function (e.g., Weiskopf, 2011). In contrast, an integrative mechanistic perspective stresses the mutual constraining of structure and function (e.g., Piccinini & Craver, 2011; Povich, 2015). In this paper, I show how model-based cognitive neuroscience (MBCN) epitomizes the integrative mechanistic perspective and concentrates (...)
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  • The Fundamental Attribution Error and Harman's Case Against Character Traits.Steve Clarke - 2006 - South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):350-368.
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  • Epistemic Loops and Measurement Realism.Alistair M. C. Isaac - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    Recent philosophy of measurement has emphasized the existence of both diachronic and synchronic “loops,” or feedback processes, in the epistemic achievements of measurement. A widespread response has been to conclude that measurement outcomes do not convey interest-independent facts about the world, and that only a coherentist epistemology of measurement is viable. In contrast, I argue that a form of measurement realism is consistent with these results. The insight is that antecedent structure in measuring spaces constrains our empirical procedures such that (...)
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  • Mechanisms and Natural Kinds.Carl F. Craver - 2009 - Philosophical Psychology 22 (5):575-594.
    It is common to defend the Homeostatic Property Cluster ( HPC ) view as a third way between conventionalism and essentialism about natural kinds ( Boyd , 1989, 1991, 1997, 1999; Griffiths , 1997, 1999; Keil , 2003; Kornblith , 1993; Wilson , 1999, 2005; Wilson , Barker , & Brigandt , forthcoming ). According to the HPC view, property clusters are not merely conventionally clustered together; the co-occurrence of properties in the cluster is sustained by a similarity generating ( (...)
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  • Mechanisms.Stuart Glennan - 2009 - In Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Peter Menzies (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Causation. Oxford University Press.
    Mechanism is undoubtedly a causal concept, in the sense that ordinary definitions and philosophical analyses explicate the concept in terms of other causal concepts such as production and interaction. Given this fact, many philosophers have supposed that analyses of the concept of mechanism, while they might appeal to philosophical theories about the nature of causation, could do little to inform such theories. On the other hand, methods of causal inference and explanation appeal to mechanisms. Discovering a mechanism is the gold (...)
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  • Where to Look for Emergent Properties.Agustín Vicente - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (2):156.
    Recent years have seen renewed interest in the emergence issue. The contemporary debate, in contrast with that of past times, has to do not so much with the mind–body problem as with the relationship between the physical and other domains; mostly with the biological domain. One of the main sources of this renewed interest is the study of complex and, in general, far-from-equilibrium self-preserving systems, which seem to fulfil one of the necessary conditions for an entity to be emergent; namely, (...)
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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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  • Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.
    Philosophers of science typically associate the causal-mechanical view of scientific explanation with the work of Railton and Salmon. In this paper I shall argue that the defects of this view arise from an inadequate analysis of the concept of mechanism. I contrast Salmon's account of mechanisms in terms of the causal nexus with my own account of mechanisms, in which mechanisms are viewed as complex systems. After describing these two concepts of mechanism, I show how the complex-systems approach avoids certain (...)
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  • Mechanisms and the Nature of Causation.StuartS Glennan - 1996 - Erkenntnis 44 (1):49--71.
    In this paper I offer an analysis of causation based upon a theory of mechanisms-complex systems whose internal parts interact to produce a system's external behavior. I argue that all but the fundamental laws of physics can be explained by reference to mechanisms. Mechanisms provide an epistemologically unproblematic way to explain the necessity which is often taken to distinguish laws from other generalizations. This account of necessity leads to a theory of causation according to which events are causally related when (...)
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  • Grounding and the Argument From Explanatoriness.David Kovacs - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (12):2927-2952.
    In recent years, metaphysics has undergone what some describe as a revolution: it has become standard to understand a vast array of questions as questions about grounding, a metaphysical notion of determination. Why should we believe in grounding, though? Supporters of the revolution often gesture at what I call the Argument from Explanatoriness: the notion of grounding is somehow indispensable to a metaphysical type of explanation. I challenge this argument and along the way develop a “reactionary” view, according to which (...)
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  • Mechanisms, Counterfactuals and Laws.Stavros Ioannidis & Stathis Psillos - 2018 - In Stuart Glennan & Phyllis Illari (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 144-156.
    In this chapter we examine the relation between mechanisms and laws/counterfactuals by revisiting the main notions of mechanism found in the literature. We distinguish between two different conceptions of ‘mechanism’: mechanisms-of underlie or constitute a causal process; mechanisms-for are complex systems that function so as to produce a certain behavior. According to some mechanists, a mechanism fulfills both of these roles simultaneously. The main argument of the chapter is that there is an asymmetrical dependence between both kinds of mechanisms and (...)
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  • 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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  • New Science for Old.Bruce Mangan & Stephen Palmer - 1989 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 12 (3):480-482.
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  • Varying the Explanatory Span: Scientific Explanation for Computer Simulations.Juan Manuel Durán - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (1):27-45.
    This article aims to develop a new account of scientific explanation for computer simulations. To this end, two questions are answered: what is the explanatory relation for computer simulations? And what kind of epistemic gain should be expected? For several reasons tailored to the benefits and needs of computer simulations, these questions are better answered within the unificationist model of scientific explanation. Unlike previous efforts in the literature, I submit that the explanatory relation is between the simulation model and the (...)
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  • Does IBE Require a "Model" of Explanation?Frank Cabrera - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy010.
    In this paper, I consider an important challenge to the popular theory of scientific inference commonly known as “Inference to the Best Explanation” (IBE), one which has received scant attention. The problem is that there exists a wide array of rival models of explanation, thus leaving IBE objectionably indeterminate. First, I briefly introduce IBE. Then, I motivate the problem and offer three potential solutions, the most plausible of which is to adopt a kind of pluralism about the rival models of (...)
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  • Why One Model is Never Enough: A Defense of Explanatory Holism.Hochstein Eric - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):1105-1125.
    Traditionally, a scientific model is thought to provide a good scientific explanation to the extent that it satisfies certain scientific goals that are thought to be constitutive of explanation. Problems arise when we realize that individual scientific models cannot simultaneously satisfy all the scientific goals typically associated with explanation. A given model’s ability to satisfy some goals must always come at the expense of satisfying others. This has resulted in philosophical disputes regarding which of these goals are in fact necessary (...)
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  • La conception déductive de l'explication scientifique et l'économie.Philippe Mongin - 2002 - Social Science Information 41 (2):139-165.
    This essay presents and discusses the currently most famous among the deductive conceptions of explanation, i.e., the deductive-nomological one, and proceeds to apply it to microeconomic theory. After restating the basic ideas, the essay investigates some of the important objections raised against it, with a view to decide whether or not they invalidate the proposed application to economics.
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  • Manipulationism, Ceteris Paribus Laws, and the Bugbear of Background Knowledge.Robert Kowalenko - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (3):261-283.
    According to manipulationist accounts of causal explanation, to explain an event is to show how it could be changed by intervening on its cause. The relevant change must be a ‘serious possibility’ claims Woodward 2003, distinct from mere logical or physical possibility—approximating something I call ‘scientific possibility’. This idea creates significant difficulties: background knowledge is necessary for judgments of possibili-ty. Yet the primary vehicles of explanation in manipulationism are ‘invariant’ generali-sations, and these are not well adapted to encoding such knowledge, (...)
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  • Counterfactuals and Explanatory Pluralism.Kareem Khalifa, Gabriel Doble & Jared Millson - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Recent literature on noncausal explanation raises the question as to whether explanatory monism, the thesis that all explanations submit to the same analysis, is true. The leading monist proposal holds that all explanations support change-relating counterfactuals. We provide several objections to this monist position.
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  • Beliefs as Inner Causes: The (Lack of) Evidence.Devin Sanchez Curry - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (6):850-877.
    Many psychologists studying lay belief attribution and behavior explanation cite Donald Davidson in support of their assumption that people construe beliefs as inner causes. But Davidson’s influential argument is unsound; there are no objective grounds for the intuition that the folk construe beliefs as inner causes that produce behavior. Indeed, recent experimental work by Ian Apperly, Bertram Malle, Henry Wellman, and Tania Lombrozo provides an empirical framework that accords well with Gilbert Ryle’s alternative thesis that the folk construe beliefs as (...)
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  • Can We Have Mathematical Understanding of Physical Phenomena?Gabriel Târziu - 2018 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 33 (1):91-109.
    Can mathematics contribute to our understanding of physical phenomena? One way to try to answer this question is by getting involved in the recent philosophical dispute about the existence of mathematical explanations of physical phenomena. If there is such a thing, given the relation between explanation and understanding, we can say that there is an affirmative answer to our question. But what if we do not agree that mathematics can play an explanatory role in science? Can we still consider that (...)
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  • A Model-Invariant Theory of Token Causation.J. Dmitri Gallow - manuscript
    I provide a theory of causation formulated within the causal modeling framework. In contrast to its predecessors, this theory is model-invariant in the following sense: if the theory says that C caused (didn't cause) E in a causal model, M, then it will continue to say that C caused (didn't cause) E once we've removed an inessential variable from M. I suggest that, if this theory is true, then we should understand a cause as something which transmits deviant or non-inertial (...)
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  • Mechanistic Causation and Constraints: Perspectival Parts and Powers, Non-Perspectival Modal Patterns.Jason Winning - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Any successful account of the metaphysics of mechanistic causation must satisfy at least five key desiderata. In this paper, I lay out these five desiderata and explain why existing accounts of the metaphysics of mechanistic causation fail to satisfy them. I then present an alternative account which does satisfy the five desiderata. According to this alternative account, we must resort to a type of ontological entity that is new to metaphysics, but not to science: constraints. In this paper, I explain (...)
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  • Minimal Models and the Generalized Ontic Conception of Scientific Explanation.Mark Povich - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):117-137.
    Batterman and Rice ([2014]) argue that minimal models possess explanatory power that cannot be captured by what they call ‘common features’ approaches to explanation. Minimal models are explanatory, according to Batterman and Rice, not in virtue of accurately representing relevant features, but in virtue of answering three questions that provide a ‘story about why large classes of features are irrelevant to the explanandum phenomenon’ ([2014], p. 356). In this article, I argue, first, that a method (the renormalization group) they propose (...)
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  • Exclusion in Morality.Lei Zhong - 2016 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 93 (2):275-290.
    Recently some philosophers (e.g. Shafer-Landau 2003; Wedgwood 2007) suggest an exclusion problem for moral non-naturalism, which is similar to the exclusion problem in the philosophy of mind. In this paper, I aim to advance the discussion of exclusion in morality by investigating two influential solutions to the exclusion problem: the autonomy solution and the overdetermination solution. I attempt to show that the moral non-naturalist can solve the exclusion problem in a way that is different from the approach to solving mental-physical (...)
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  • The Inclusive Fitness Controversy: Finding a Way Forward.Jonathan Birch - 2017 - Royal Society Open Science 4:170335.
    This paper attempts to reconcile critics and defenders of inclusive fitness by constructing a synthesis that does justice to the insights of both. I argue that criticisms of the regression-based version of Hamilton’s rule, although they undermine its use for predictive purposes, do not undermine its use as an organizing framework for social evolution research. I argue that the assumptions underlying the concept of inclusive fitness, conceived as a causal property of an individual organism, are unlikely to be exactly true (...)
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