Causal Projectivism, Agency, and Objectivity

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This article examines how specific realist and projectivist versions of manipulability theories of causation deal with the problem of objectivity. Does an agent-dependent concept of manipulability imply that conflicting causal claims made by agents with different capacities can come out as true? In defence of the projectivist stance taken by the agency view, I argue that if the agent’s perspective is shown to be uniform across different agents, then the truth-values of causal claims do not vary arbitrarily and, thus, reach a satisfactory level of objectivity. My argument connects Price’s considerations on the situation of deliberation, whose structure, common to all agents, is the same with respect to both decision making and causal claims on a concept inspired by Douglas’s classification of objectivity of thought processes: the perspective of the detached agent. I further argue that, despite his agent-independent concept of intervention, Woodward’s claim of a stronger objectivity standard cannot be achieved, as the relativity of causal concepts to a variable set brings about the issue of the agent’s choice of variables. Consequently, a more permissive objectivity standard applies to both views.
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First archival date: 2019-12-27
Latest version: 4 (2019-12-27)
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