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  1. 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Natural Selection and Causal Productivity.Roberta L. Millstein - 2013 - In Hsiang-Ke Chao, Szu-Ting Chen & Roberta L. Millstein (eds.), Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics,. Springer.
    In the recent philosophical literature, two questions have arisen concerning the status of natural selection: (1) Is it a population-level phenomenon, or is it an organism-level phenomenon? (2) Is it a causal process, or is it a purely statistical summary of lower-level processes? In an earlier work (Millstein, Br J Philos Sci, 57(4):627–653, 2006), I argue that natural selection should be understood as a population-level causal process, rather than a purely statistical population-level summation of lower-level processes or as an organism-level (...)
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  • Quantum Theory is Not Only About Information.Laura Felline - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
    In his recent book Bananaworld. Quantum mechanics for primates, Jeff Bub revives and provides a mature version of his influential information-theoretic interpretation of Quantum Theory (QT). In this paper, I test Bub’s conjecture that QT should be interpreted as a theory about information, by examining whether his information-theoretic interpretation has the resources to explain (or explain away) quantum conundrums. The discussion of Bub’s theses will also serve to investigate, more in general, whether other approaches succeed in defending the claim that (...)
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  • Ephemeral Mechanisms and Historical Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2010 - Erkenntnis 72 (2):251-266.
    While much of the recent literature on mechanisms has emphasized the superiority of mechanisms and mechanistic explanation over laws and nomological explanation, paradigmatic mechanisms—e.g., clocks or synapses—actually exhibit a great deal of stability in their behavior. And while mechanisms of this kind are certainly of great importance, there are many events that do not occur as a consequence of the operation of stable mechanisms. Events of natural and human history are often the consequence of causal processes that are ephemeral and (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Did the Bacterium Really Kill the Colonel? Systemic View, Inter-Level Causation, and Levels of Quasi-Decompositionality in Mechanistic Explanations.Emilio Cáceres Vázquez & Cristian Saborido - 2018 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 33 (1):129-148.
    In this paper, we critically analyze the mechanicist approach to scientific explanation and propose to complement this view with a conception of level as interval of quasi-decompositionality. This conception allows us to metaphysically base the mechanicist proposals on characteristic systemic features. By means of concrete examples, we claim that this proposal is able to overcome some of the alleged limitations of predominant models of mechanistic explanation.
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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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  • 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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  • Understanding the Influence Theory of Causation: A Critique of Strevens.Sungho Choi - 2005 - Erkenntnis 63 (1):101-118.
    In this paper, I will first clarify Lewis’s influence theory of causation by relying on his theory of events. And then I will consider Michael Strevens’s charge against the sufficiency of Lewis’s theory. My claim is that it is legitimate but does not pose as serious a problem for Lewis’s theory as Strevens thinks because Lewis can surmount it by limiting the scope of his theory to causation between concrete events. Michael Strevens raises an alleged counterexample to the necessity of (...)
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  • Social Explanation and Computational Simulation.R. Keith Sawyer - 2004 - Philosophical Explorations 7 (3):219-231.
    I explore a type of computational social simulation known as artificial societies. Artificial society simulations are dynamic models of real-world social phenomena. I explore the role that these simulations play in social explanation, by situating these simulations within contemporary philosophical work on explanation and on models. Many contemporary philosophers have argued that models provide causal explanations in science, and that models are necessary mediators between theory and data. I argue that artificial society simulations provide causal mechanistic explanations. I conclude that (...)
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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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  • Disentangling Mechanisms From Causes: And the Effects on Science.John Protzko - 2018 - Foundations of Science 23 (1):37-50.
    Despite the miraculous progress of science—it’s practitioners continue to run into mistakes, either discrediting research unduly or making leaps of causal inference where none are warranted. In this we isolate two of the reasons for such behavior involving the misplaced understanding of the role of mechanisms and mechanistic knowledge in the establishment of cause-effect relationships. We differentiate causal knowledge into causes, effects, mechanisms, cause-effect relationships, and causal stories. Failing to understand the role of mechanisms in this picture, including their absence (...)
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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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  • 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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  • The Mechanist and the Snail.Christopher Read Hitchcock - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 84 (1):91 - 105.
    Introduction: One of the most influential theories of scientific explanation to have emerged in the past two decades is Salmon's causal/mechanical theory (Salmon 1984). According to this account, scientific explanations describe a network of causal processes and interactions. In this paper, I will use an example from evolutionary biology to argue that the causal nexus, as characterized by Salmon, is not rich enough to account for many causal explanations in the sciences.
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  • Kim’s Dilemma: Why Mental Causation is Not Productive.Andrew Russo - 2015 - Synthese.
    Barry Loewer (2001, 2002, 2007) has argued that the nonreductive physicalist should respond to the exclusion problem by endorsing the overdetermination entailed by their view. Jaegwon Kim’s (2005, 2007) argument against this reply is based on the premise that mental causation is a productive relation involving the “flow” or “transfer” of some conserved quantity from cause to effect. In this paper, I challenge this premise by appealing to the underlying double prevention structure of the physiological mechanisms of human action. Since (...)
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  • Philosophy of Causation: Blind Alleys Exposed; Promising Directions Highlighted.Ned Hall - 2006 - Philosophy Compass 1 (1):86–94.
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  • A Field Guide to Mechanisms: Part II.Holly Andersen - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (4):284-293.
    In this field guide, I distinguish five separate senses with which the term ‘mechanism’ is used in contemporary philosophy of science. Many of these senses have overlapping areas of application but involve distinct philosophical claims and characterize the target mechanisms in relevantly different ways. This field guide will clarify the key features of each sense and introduce some main debates, distinguishing those that transpire within a given sense from those that are best understood as concerning two distinct senses. The ‘new (...)
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  • Mechanisms in Medicine.Donald Gillies - 2017 - Axiomathes 27 (6):621-634.
    This paper begins by developing a causal theory of mechanisms in medicine, and illustrates the theory with the example of the mechanism of the disease anthrax as elucidated by Koch. The causal approach to mechanisms is then compared to the Machamer, Darden, Craver approach. At first sight the two approaches appear to be very different, but it is argued that the divergence is less than it initially seems. There are some differences, however, and it is argued that, where these differences (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Explanation and the Dimensionality of Space.Silvia De Bianchi & J. D. Wells - 2015 - Synthese 192 (1):287-303.
    The question of the dimensionality of space has informed the development of physics since the beginning of the twentieth century in the quest for a unified picture of quantum processes and gravitation. Scientists have worked within various approaches to explain why the universe appears to have a certain number of spatial dimensions. The question of why space has three dimensions has a genuinely philosophical nature that can be shaped as a problem of justifying a contingent necessity of the world. In (...)
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  • Two Kinds of Causal Explanation.George Botterill - 2010 - Theoria 76 (4):287-313.
    To give a causal explanation is to give information about causal history. But a vast amount of causal history lies behind anything that happens, far too much to be included in any intelligible explanation. This is the Problem of Limitation for explanatory information. To cope with this problem, explanations must select for what is relevant to and adequate for answering particular inquiries. In the present paper this idea is used in order to distinguish two kinds of causal explanation, on the (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Unifying Biology Under the Search for Mechanisms.David Kalkman - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (3):447-458.
    In Search Of Mechanisms is a book about the methodology of biology. It is a work by Carl Craver and Lindley Darden, both of whom are well-known individually for their advocacy of mechanistic explanation—in the neurosciences and in the fields of genetics, cytology and molecular biology . Here, the two join forces to give a unified model of biological explanation, not limited to a particular area of biological enquiry, as rooted in the search for mechanisms.The objectives of the book are (...)
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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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  • How Quantum Theory Helps Us Explain.Richard Healey - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (1):1-43.
    I offer an account of how the quantum theory we have helps us explain the enormous variety of phenomena it is generally taken to explain. The account depends on what I have elsewhere called a pragmatist interpretation of the theory. This rejects views according to which a quantum state describes or represents a physical system, holding instead that it functions as a source of sound advice to physically situated agents like us on the content and appropriate degree of belief about (...)
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  • Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S342-S353.
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  • Understanding in the Not-So-Special Sciences.Paul Humphreys - 1995 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 34 (S1):99-114.
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  • Relativity, Quantum Entanglement, Counterfactuals, and Causation.Luke Fenton-Glynn & Thomas Kroedel - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (1):45-67.
    We investigate whether standard counterfactual analyses of causation imply that the outcomes of space-like separated measurements on entangled particles are causally related. Although it has sometimes been claimed that standard CACs imply such a causal relation, we argue that a careful examination of David Lewis’s influential counterfactual semantics casts doubt on this. We discuss ways in which Lewis’s semantics and standard CACs might be extended to the case of space-like correlations.
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  • Explication Et Pertinence : Du Sel Ensorcelé À la Loi des Aires.Cyrille Imbert - 2011 - Dialogue 50 (4):689-723.
    ABSTRACT: Whereas relevance in scientific explanations is usually discussed as if it was a single problem, several criteria of relevance will be distinguished in this paper. Emphasis is laid upon the notion of intra-scientific relevance, which is illustrated using explanation of the law of areas as an example. Traditional accounts of explanation, such as the causal and unificationist accounts, are analyzed against these criteria of relevance. Particularly, it will be shown that these accounts fail to indicate which explanations fulfill the (...)
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  • Metaphysically Reductive Causation.Ned Hall & L. A. Paul - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (1):9-41.
    There are, by now, many rival, sophisticated philosophical accounts of causation that qualify as ‘metaphysically reductive’. This is a good thing: these collective efforts have vastly improved our understanding of causation over the last 30 years or so. They also put us in an excellent position to reflect on some central methodological questions: What exactly is the point of offering a metaphysical reduction of causation? What philosophical scruples ought to guide the pursuit of such a reduction? Finally, how should answers (...)
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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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  • A Modified Conception of Mechanisms.Phillip J. Torres - 2009 - Erkenntnis 71 (2):233-251.
    In this paper, I critique two conceptions of mechanisms, namely those put forth by Stuart Glennan (Erkenntnis 44:49–71, 1996; Philosophy of Science 69:S342–S353, 2002) and Machamer et al. (Philosophy of Science 67:1–25, 2000). Glennan’s conception, I argue, cannot account for mechanisms involving negative causation because of its interactionist posture. MDC’s view encounters the same problem due to its reificatory conception of activities—this conception, I argue, entails an onerous commitment to ontological dualism. In the place of Glennan and MDC, I propose (...)
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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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  • Connection and Influence: A Process Theory of Causation.Alexander Rueger - 2006 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 37 (1):77-97.
    A combination of process and counterfactual theories of causation is proposed with the aim of preserving the strengths of each of the approaches while avoiding their shortcomings. The basis for the combination, or hybrid, view is the need, common to both accounts, of imposing a stability requirement on the causal relation.
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  • The Causal Chain Problem.Michael Baumgartner - 2008 - Erkenntnis 69 (2):201-226.
    This paper addresses a problem that arises when it comes to inferring deterministic causal chains from pertinent empirical data. It will be shown that to every deterministic chain there exists an empirically equivalent common cause structure. Thus, our overall conviction that deterministic chains are one of the most ubiquitous (macroscopic) causal structures is underdetermined by empirical data. It will be argued that even though the chain and its associated common cause model are empirically equivalent there exists an important asymmetry between (...)
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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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