Robustness and Modularity

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Functional robustness refers to a system’s ability to maintain a function in the face of perturbations to the causal structures that support performance of that function. Modularity, a crucial element of standard methods of causal inference and difference-making accounts of causation, refers to the independent manipulability of causal relationships within a system. Functional robustness appears to be at odds with modularity. If a function is maintained despite manipulation of some causal structure that supports that function, then the relationship between that structure and function fails to be manipulable independent of other causal relationships within the system. Contrary to this line of reasoning, I argue that functional robustness often attends feedback control, rather than failures of modularity. Feedback control poses its own challenges to causal explanation and inference, but those challenges do not undermine modularity—and indeed, modularity is crucial to grappling with them.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
BOORAM-7
Upload history
Archival date: 2021-10-08
View other versions
Added to PP index
2021-10-08

Total views
41 ( #57,518 of 2,449,020 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
41 ( #16,335 of 2,449,020 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.