Results for 'causal explanation'

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  1. Contrastive Causal Explanation and the Explanatoriness of Deterministic and Probabilistic Hypotheses Theories.Elliott Sober - forthcoming - European Journal for Philosophy of Science.
    Carl Hempel (1965) argued that probabilistic hypotheses are limited in what they can explain. He contended that a hypothesis cannot explain why E is true if the hypothesis says that E has a probability less than 0.5. Wesley Salmon (1971, 1984, 1990, 1998) and Richard Jeffrey (1969) argued to the contrary, contending that P can explain why E is true even when P says that E’s probability is very low. This debate concerned noncontrastive explananda. Here, a view of contrastive (...) explanation is described and defended. It provides a new limit on what probabilistic hypotheses can explain; the limitation is that P cannot explain why E is true rather than A if P assign E a probability that is less than or equal to the probability that P assigns to A. The view entails that a true deterministic theory and a true probabilistic theory that apply to the same explanandum partition are such that the deterministic theory explains all the true contrastive propositions constructable from that partition, whereas the probabilistic theory often fails to do so. (shrink)
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  2. Non-causal explanations in physics.Juha Saatsi - 2022 - In Eleanor Knox & Alastair Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics. London, UK: Routledge.
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  3. Economics, Agency, and Causal Explanation.William Child - 2019 - In Peter Róna & László Zsolnai (eds.), Agency and Causal Explanation in Economics. Springer Verlag. pp. 53-67.
    The paper considers three questions. First, what is the connection between economics and agency? It is argued that causation and explanation in economics fundamentally depend on agency. So a philosophical understanding of economic explanation must be sensitive to an understanding of agency. Second, what is the connection between agency and causation? A causal view of agency-involving explanation is defended against a number of arguments from the resurgent noncausalist tradition in the literature on agency and action-explanation. (...)
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  4. Omissions and Causal Explanations.Achille C. Varzi - 2007 - In Francesca Castellani & Josef Quitterer (eds.), Agency and Causation in the Human Sciences. Mentis Verlag. pp. 155–167.
    In previous work I have argued that talk about negative events should not be taken at face value: typically, what we are inclined to think of as a negative event (John’s failure to go jogging) is just an ordinary, positive event (his going to the movie instead); it is a positive event under a negative description. Here I consider more closely the difficulties that arise in those cases where no positive event seems available to do the job, as with putative (...)
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  5. Are mathematical explanations causal explanations in disguise?A. Jha, Douglas Campbell, Clemency Montelle & Phillip L. Wilson - 2024 - Philosophy of Science (NA):1-19.
    There is a major debate as to whether there are non-causal mathematical explanations of physical facts that show how the facts under question arise from a degree of mathematical necessity considered stronger than that of contingent causal laws. We focus on Marc Lange’s account of distinctively mathematical explanations to argue that purported mathematical explanations are essentially causal explanations in disguise and are no different from ordinary applications of mathematics. This is because these explanations work not by appealing (...)
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  6. Genetic traits and causal explanation.Robert Northcott - 2012 - In Kathryn Plaisance & Thomas Reydon (eds.), Philosophy of Behavioral Biology. Springer. pp. 65-82.
    I use a contrastive theory of causal explanation to analyze the notion of a genetic trait. The resulting definition is relational, an implication of which is that no trait is genetic always and everywhere. Rather, every trait may be either genetic or non-genetic, depending on explanatory context. I also outline some other advantages of connecting the debate to the wider causation literature, including how that yields us an account of the distinction between genetic traits and genetic dispositions.
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  7. Mathematical and Non-causal Explanations: an Introduction.Daniel Kostić - 2019 - Perspectives on Science 1 (27):1-6.
    In the last couple of years, a few seemingly independent debates on scientific explanation have emerged, with several key questions that take different forms in different areas. For example, the questions what makes an explanation distinctly mathematical and are there any non-causal explanations in sciences (i.e., explanations that don’t cite causes in the explanans) sometimes take a form of the question of what makes mathematical models explanatory, especially whether highly idealized models in science can be explanatory and (...)
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  8. There May Yet be Non-causal Explanations.Finnur Dellsén - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (2):377-384.
    There are many putative counterexamples to the view that all scientific explanations are causal explanations. Using a new theory of what it is to be a causal explanation, Bradford Skow has recently argued that several of the putative counterexamples fail to be non-causal. This paper defends some of the counterexamples by showing how Skow’s argument relies on an overly permissive theory of causal explanations.
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  9. Diagnosis and Causal Explanation in Psychiatry.Hane Htut Maung - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 60 (C):15-24.
    In clinical medicine, a diagnosis can offer an explanation of a patient's symptoms by specifying the pathology that is causing them. Diagnoses in psychiatry are also sometimes presented in clinical texts as if they pick out pathological processes that cause sets of symptoms. However, current evidence suggests the possibility that many diagnostic categories in psychiatry are highly causally heterogeneous. For example, major depressive disorder may not be associated with a single type of underlying pathological process, but with a range (...)
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  10. Can Non-Causal Explanations Answer the Leibniz Question?Jens Lemanski - 2022 - Metaphysica 23 (2):427-443.
    Leibniz is often cited as an authority when it comes to the formulation and answer strategy of the question “Why is there something rather than nothing?” Yet much current research assumes that Leibniz advocates an unambiguous question and strategy for the answer. In this respect, one repeatedly finds the argument in the literature that alternative explanatory approaches to this question violate Leibniz’s intention, since he derives the question from the principle of sufficient reason and also demands a causal (...) to the question. In particular, the new research on non-causal explanatory strategies to the Leibniz question seems to concern this counter-argument. In this paper, however, I will argue that while Leibniz raises the question by means of the principle of sufficient reason, he even favours a non-causal explanatory strategy to the question. Thus, a more accurate Leibniz interpretation seems not only to legitimise but also to support non-causal explanations to the Leibniz question. (shrink)
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  11. On the Role of Erotetic Constraints in Non-causal Explanations.Daniel Kostić - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    In non-causal explanations, some non-causal facts (such as mathematical, modal or metaphysical) are used to explain some physical facts. However, precisely because these explanations abstract away from causal facts, they face two challenges: 1) it is not clear why would one rather than the other non-causal explanantia be relevant for the explanandum; and 2) why would standing in a particular explanatory relation (e.g., “counterfactual dependence”, “constraint”, “entailment”, “constitution”, “grounding”, and so on), and not in some other, (...)
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  12. Causal Factors, Causal Inference, Causal Explanation.Elliott Sober & David Papineau - 1986 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 60 (1):97-136.
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  13. "Because" without "Cause": The Uses and Limits of Non-Causal Explanation.Jonathan Birch - 2008 - Dissertation, University of Cambridge
    In this BA dissertation, I deploy examples of non-causal explanations of physical phenomena as evidence against the view that causal models of explanation can fully account for explanatory practices in science. I begin by discussing the problems faced by Hempel’s models and the causal models built to replace them. I then offer three everyday examples of non-causal explanation, citing sticks, pilots and apples. I suggest a general form for such explanations, under which they can (...)
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  14. Because without Cause: Non-Causal Explanations in Science and Mathematics. [REVIEW]Mark Povich & Carl F. Craver - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (3):422-426.
    Lange’s collection of expanded, mostly previously published essays, packed with numerous, beautiful examples of putatively non-causal explanations from biology, physics, and mathematics, challenges the increasingly ossified causal consensus about scientific explanation, and, in so doing, launches a new field of philosophic investigation. However, those who embraced causal monism about explanation have done so because appeal to causal factors sorts good from bad scientific explanations and because the explanatory force of good explanations seems to derive (...)
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  15. Shades of Grey: Granularity, Pragmatics, and Non-Causal Explanation.Hugh Desmond - 2019 - Perspectives on Science 27 (1):68-87.
    Implicit contextual factors mean that the boundary between causal and noncausal explanation is not as neat as one might hope: as the phenomenon to be explained is given descriptions with varying degrees of granularity, the nature of the favored explanation alternates between causal and non-causal. While it is not surprising that different descriptions of the same phenomenon should favor different explanations, it is puzzling why re-describing the phenomenon should make any difference for the causal (...)
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  16. The case for regularity in mechanistic causal explanation.Holly Andersen - 2012 - Synthese 189 (3):415-432.
    How regular do mechanisms need to be, in order to count as mechanisms? This paper addresses two arguments for dropping the requirement of regularity from the definition of a mechanism, one motivated by examples from the sciences and the other motivated by metaphysical considerations regarding causation. I defend a broadened regularity requirement on mechanisms that takes the form of a taxonomy of kinds of regularity that mechanisms may exhibit. This taxonomy allows precise explication of the degree and location of regular (...)
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  17. Causal patterns and adequate explanations.Angela Potochnik - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (5):1163-1182.
    Causal accounts of scientific explanation are currently broadly accepted (though not universally so). My first task in this paper is to show that, even for a causal approach to explanation, significant features of explanatory practice are not determined by settling how causal facts bear on the phenomenon to be explained. I then develop a broadly causal approach to explanation that accounts for the additional features that I argue an explanation should have. This (...)
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  18. The Causal Economy Approach to Scientific Explanation.Laura Franklin-Hall - forthcoming - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science.
    This paper sketches a causal account of scientific explanation designed to sustain the judgment that high-level, detail-sparse explanations—particularly those offered in biology—can be at least as explanatorily valuable as lower-level counterparts. The motivating idea is that complete explanations maximize causal economy: they cite those aspects of an event’s causal run-up that offer the biggest-bang-for-your-buck, by costing less (in virtue of being abstract) and delivering more (in virtue making the event stable or robust).
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  19. Complements, not competitors: causal and mathematical explanations.Holly Andersen - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):485-508.
    A finer-grained delineation of a given explanandum reveals a nexus of closely related causal and non- causal explanations, complementing one another in ways that yield further explanatory traction on the phenomenon in question. By taking a narrower construal of what counts as a causal explanation, a new class of distinctively mathematical explanations pops into focus; Lange’s characterization of distinctively mathematical explanations can be extended to cover these. This new class of distinctively mathematical explanations is illustrated with (...)
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  20. The causal mechanical model of explanation.James Woodward - 1989 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13:359-83.
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  21. Correlation Isn’t Good Enough: Causal Explanation and Big Data. [REVIEW]Frank Cabrera - 2021 - Metascience 30 (2):335-338.
    A review of Gary Smith and Jay Cordes: The Phantom Pattern Problem: The Mirage of Big Data. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.
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  22. Causal, teleological and evolutionary explanation.David L. Thompson - manuscript
    Explanation is a human activity. Teleological, causal, and evolutionary explanations are all valid forms of responding to particular puzzlements. Reductionism incorrectly assumes there is one absolute explanation. While causal explanation appeals primarily to necessity, evolutionary explanation is based largely on contingency.
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  23. Automaticity: Componential, causal, and mechanistic explanations. Annual Review of Psychology, 67, 263-287.Agnes Moors - 2016 - Annual Review of Psychology 67:263-287.
    The review first discusses componential explanations of automaticity, which specify non/automaticity features (e.g., un/controlled, un/conscious, non/efficient, fast/slow) and their interrelations. Reframing these features as factors that influence processes (e.g., goals, attention, and time) broadens the range of factors that can be considered (e.g., adding stimulus intensity and representational quality). The evidence reviewed challenges the view of a perfect coherence among goals, attention, and consciousness, and supports the alternative view that (a) these and other factors influence the quality of representations in (...)
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  24. Causal Inference as Inference to the Best Explanation.Barry Ward - manuscript
    We argue that a modified version of Mill’s method of agreement can strongly confirm causal generalizations. This mode of causal inference implicates the explanatory virtues of mechanism, analogy, consilience, and simplicity, and we identify it as a species of Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE). Since rational causal inference provides normative guidance, IBE is not a heuristic for Bayesian rationality. We give it an objective Bayesian formalization, one that has no need of principles of indifference and (...)
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  25. Causal and Mechanistic Explanations, and a Lesson from Ecology.Viorel Pâslaru - 2015 - In Alexandru Manafu (ed.), The Prospects for Fusion Emergence. Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science, vol. 313: Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science, vol. 313.
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  26. Individualism, causal powers, and explanation.Robert A. Wilson - 1992 - Philosophical Studies 68 (2):103-39.
    This paper examines a recent, influential argument for individualism in psychology defended by Jerry Fodor and others, what I call the argument from causal powers. I argue that this argument equivocates on the crucial notion of "causal powers", and that this equivocation constitutes a deep problem for arguments of this type. Relational and individualistic taxonomies are incompatible, and it does not seem in general to be possible to factor the former into the latter. The distinction between powers and (...)
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  27. Why Attention is Not Explanation: Surgical Intervention and Causal Reasoning about Neural Models.Christopher Grimsley, Elijah Mayfield & Julia Bursten - 2020 - Proceedings of the 12th Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation.
    As the demand for explainable deep learning grows in the evaluation of language technologies, the value of a principled grounding for those explanations grows as well. Here we study the state-of-the-art in explanation for neural models for natural-language processing (NLP) tasks from the viewpoint of philosophy of science. We focus on recent evaluation work that finds brittleness in explanations obtained through attention mechanisms.We harness philosophical accounts of explanation to suggest broader conclusions from these studies. From this analysis, we (...)
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  28. What is social structural explanation? A causal account.Lauren N. Ross - 2023 - Noûs 1 (1):163-179.
    Social scientists appeal to various “structures” in their explanations including public policies, economic systems, and social hierarchies. Significant debate surrounds the explanatory relevance of these factors for various outcomes such as health, behavioral, and economic patterns. This paper provides a causal account of social structural explanation that is motivated by Haslanger (2016). This account suggests that social structure can be explanatory in virtue of operating as a causal constraint, which is a causal factor with unique characteristics. (...)
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  29. In Defense of a Causal Requirement on Explanation.Garrett Pendergraft - 2011 - In Phyllis McKay Illari Federica Russo (ed.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press. pp. 470.
    Causalists about explanation claim that to explain an event is to provide information about the causal history of that event. Some causalists also endorse a proportionality claim, namely that one explanation is better than another insofar as it provides a greater amount of causal information. In this chapter I consider various challenges to these causalist claims. There is a common and influential formulation of the causalist requirement – the ‘Causal Process Requirement’ – that does appear (...)
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  30. Purposeful Explanation and Causal Gaps.Stewart Goetz - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 5 (1):141--155.
    In this paper, I argue that a commitment to science and the methodo- logical commitment to causal closure do not require a rejection of the idea that the choices of souls explain the occurrence of certain events in the physical world. Stated slightly differently, I maintain that one can both affirm science and believe that souls causally interfere in the course of events in the physical world. Such an affirmation and belief are compatible. In short, science vis-à-vis the methodological (...)
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  31. Are Identities Unexplainable? Towards a Non‐causal Contrastive Explanation of Identities.Lorenzo Azzano & Massimiliano Carrara - 2020 - Theoria 87 (2):457-482.
    Can an identity be the proper subject of an explanation? A popular stance, albeit not one often argued for, gives a negative answer to this question. Building from a contentious passage from Jaegwon Kim in this direction, we reconstruct an argument to the conclusion that identities, to the extent in which they are necessary, cannot be explained. The notion of contrastive explanation, characterized as difference-seeking, will be crucial for this argument; however, we will eventually find the argument to (...)
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  32. Informational Virtues, Causal Inference, and Inference to the Best Explanation.Barry Ward - manuscript
    Frank Cabrera argues that informational explanatory virtues—specifically, mechanism, precision, and explanatory scope—cannot be confirmational virtues, since hypotheses that possess them must have a lower probability than less virtuous, entailed hypotheses. We argue against Cabrera’s characterization of confirmational virtue and for an alternative on which the informational virtues clearly are confirmational virtues. Our illustration of their confirmational virtuousness appeals to aspects of causal inference, suggesting that causal inference has a role for the explanatory virtues. We briefly explore this possibility, (...)
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  33. Coherent Causal Control: A New Distinction within Causation.Marcel Weber - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (4):69.
    The recent literature on causality has seen the introduction of several distinctions within causality, which are thought to be important for understanding the widespread scientific practice of focusing causal explanations on a subset of the factors that are causally relevant for a phenomenon. Concepts used to draw such distinctions include, among others, stability, specificity, proportionality, or actual-difference making. In this contribution, I propose a new distinction that picks out an explanatorily salient class of causes in biological systems. Some select (...)
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  34. Respect for Subjects in the Ethics of Causal and Interpretive Social Explanation.Michael L. Frazer - forthcoming - American Political Science Review.
    Rival causal and interpretive approaches to explaining social phenomena have important ethical differences. While human actions can be explained as a result of causal mechanisms, as a meaningful choice based on reasons, or as some combination of the two, it is morally important that social scientists respect others by recognizing them as persons. Interpretive explanations directly respect their subjects in this way, while purely causal explanations do not. Yet although causal explanations are not themselves expressions of (...)
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  35. Program explanation: A general perspective.Frank Jackson & Philip Pettit - 1990 - Analysis 50 (2):107-17.
    Some properties are causally relevant for a certain effect, others are not. In this paper we describe a problem for our understanding of this notion and then offer a solution in terms of the notion of a program explanation.
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  36. Causality and Coextensiveness in Aristotle's Posterior Analytics 1.13.Lucas Angioni - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 54:159-185.
    I discuss an important feature of the notion of cause in Post. An. 1. 13, 78b13–28, which has been either neglected or misunderstood. Some have treated it as if Aristotle were introducing a false principle about explanation; others have understood the point in terms of coextensiveness of cause and effect. However, none offers a full exegesis of Aristotle's tangled argument or accounts for all of the text's peculiarities. My aim is to disentangle Aristotle's steps to show that he is (...)
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  37. Metaphysical explanations and the counterfactual theory of explanation.Stefan Roski - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1971-1991.
    According to an increasingly popular view among philosophers of science, both causal and non-causal explanations can be accounted for by a single theory: the counterfactual theory of explanation. A kind of non-causal explanation that has gained much attention recently but that this theory seems unable to account for are grounding explanations. Reutlinger :239-256, 2017) has argued that, despite these appearances to the contrary, such explanations are covered by his version of the counterfactual theory. His idea (...)
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  38. Explanation and Understanding: An Alternative to Strevens’ D epth.Angela Potochnik - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (1):29-38.
    Michael Strevens offers an account of causal explanation according to which explanatory practice is shaped by counterbalanced commitments to representing causal influence and abstracting away from overly specific details. In this paper, I challenge a key feature of that account. I argue that what Strevens calls explanatory frameworks figure prominently in explanatory practice because they actually improve explanations. This suggestion is simple but has far-reaching implications. It affects the status of explanations that cite multiply realizable properties; changes (...)
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  39. High-Level Explanation and the Interventionist’s ‘Variables Problem’.L. R. Franklin-Hall - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (2):553-577.
    The interventionist account of causal explanation, in the version presented by Jim Woodward, has been recently claimed capable of buttressing the widely felt—though poorly understood—hunch that high-level, relatively abstract explanations, of the sort provided by sciences like biology, psychology and economics, are in some cases explanatorily optimal. It is the aim of this paper to show that this is mistaken. Due to a lack of effective constraints on the causal variables at the heart of the interventionist (...)-explanatory scheme, as presently formulated it is either unable to prefer high-level explanations to low, or systematically overshoots, recommending explanations at so high of a level as to be virtually vacuous. (shrink)
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  40. On Explanations from Geometry of Motion.Juha Saatsi - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):253–273.
    This paper examines explanations that turn on non-local geometrical facts about the space of possible configurations a system can occupy. I argue that it makes sense to contrast such explanations from "geometry of motion" with causal explanations. I also explore how my analysis of these explanations cuts across the distinction between kinematics and dynamics.
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  41. A niggle at Nagel: causally active desires and the explanation of action.Charles Pigden - 2009 - In Constantine Sandis (ed.), New Essays on the Explanation of Action. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 220--40.
    This paper criticizes an influential argument from Thomas Nagel’s THE POSSIBILTIY OF ALTRUISM, an argument that plays a foundational role in the philosophies of (at least) Philippa Foot, John McDowell and Jonathan Dancy. Nagel purports to prove that a person can be can be motivated to perform X by the belief that X is likely to bring about Y, without a causally active or biffy desire for Y. If Cullity and Gaut are to be believed (ETHICS AND PRACTICAL REASONING) this (...)
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  42. Explaining Causal Selection with Explanatory Causal Economy: Biology and Beyond.L. R. Franklin-Hall - 2015 - In P.-A. Braillard & C. Malaterre (eds.), Explanation in Biology: An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences. Springer. pp. 413-438.
    Among the factors necessary for the occurrence of some event, which of these are selectively highlighted in its explanation and labeled as causes — and which are explanatorily omitted, or relegated to the status of background conditions? Following J. S. Mill, most have thought that only a pragmatic answer to this question was possible. In this paper I suggest we understand this ‘causal selection problem’ in causal-explanatory terms, and propose that explanatory trade-offs between abstraction and stability can (...)
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  43. Causal Modeling and the Efficacy of Action.Holly Andersen - 2022 - In Michael Brent & Lisa Miracchi Titus (eds.), Mental Action and the Conscious Mind. Routledge.
    This paper brings together Thompson's naive action explanation with interventionist modeling of causal structure to show how they work together to produce causal models that go beyond current modeling capabilities, when applied to specifically selected systems. By deploying well-justified assumptions about rationalization, we can strengthen existing causal modeling techniques' inferential power in cases where we take ourselves to be modeling causal systems that also involve actions. The internal connection between means and end exhibited in naive (...)
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  44. A weakened mechanism is still a mechanism: On the causal role of absences in mechanistic explanation.Alexander Mebius - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 45 (1):43-48.
    Much contemporary debate on the nature of mechanisms centers on the issue of modulating negative causes. One type of negative causability, which I refer to as “causation by absence,” appears difficult to incorporate into modern accounts of mechanistic explanation. This paper argues that a recent attempt to resolve this problem, proposed by Benjamin Barros, requires improvement as it overlooks the fact that not all absences qualify as sources of mechanism failure. I suggest that there are a number of additional (...)
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  45. Causality and attribution in an Aristotelian Theory.Srećko Kovač - 2015 - In Arnold Koslow & Arthur Buchsbaum (eds.), The Road to Universal Logic: Festschrift for 50th Birthday of Jean-Yves Béziau, vol. 1. Cham, Heidelberg, etc.: Springer-Birkhäuser. pp. 327-340.
    Aristotelian causal theories incorporate some philosophically important features of the concept of cause, including necessity and essential character. The proposed formalization is restricted to one-place predicates and a finite domain of attributes (without individuals). Semantics is based on a labeled tree structure, with truth defined by means of tree paths. A relatively simple causal prefixing mechanism is defined, by means of which causes of propositions and reasoning with causes are made explicit. The distinction of causal and factual (...)
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  46. beyond the divide between indigenous and academic knowledge: Causal and mechanistic explanations in a Brazilian fishing community.Charbel N. El-Hani, Luana Poliseli & David Ludwig - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 1 (91):296–306.
    Transdisciplinary research challenges the divide between Indigenous and academic knowledge by bringing together epistemic resources of heterogeneous stakeholders. The aim of this article is to explore causal explanations in a traditional fishing community in Brazil that provide resources for transdisciplinary collaboration, without neglecting differences between Indigenous and academic experts. Semi-structured interviews were carried out in a fishing village in the North shore of Bahia and our findings show that community members often rely on causal explanations for local ecological (...)
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  47. Do Students See the “Selection” in Organic Evolution? A Critical Review of the Causal Structure of Student Explanations.Abhijeet Bardapurkar - 2008 - Evolution: Education and Outreach 1 (3):299-305.
    This paper critically reviews and characterizes the student's causal-explanatory understanding; this is done as a step toward explicating the problematic of evolution education as it concerns the cognitive difficulties in understanding Darwin's theory of natural selection. The review concludes that the student's understanding is fundamentally different from Darwin's, for the student understands evolutionary change as necessary individual transformation caused by the transformative action of various physical and behavioral factors. This is in complete contrast to Darwin's (and even the Darwinian's, (...)
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  48. Inference, Explanation, and Asymmetry.Kareem Khalifa, Jared Millson & Mark Risjord - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 4):929-953.
    Explanation is asymmetric: if A explains B, then B does not explain A. Tradition- ally, the asymmetry of explanation was thought to favor causal accounts of explanation over their rivals, such as those that take explanations to be inferences. In this paper, we develop a new inferential approach to explanation that outperforms causal approaches in accounting for the asymmetry of explanation.
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  49. Reasons explanations (of actions) as structural explanations.Megan Fritts - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12683-12704.
    Non-causal accounts of action explanation have long been criticized for lacking a positive thesis, relying primarily on negative arguments to undercut the standard Causal Theory of Action The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2016). Additionally, it is commonly thought that non-causal accounts fail to provide an answer to Donald Davidson’s challenge for theories of reasons explanations of actions. According to Davidson’s challenge, a plausible non-causal account of reasons explanations must provide a way of connecting an agent’s (...)
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  50. Not so distinctively mathematical explanations: topology and dynamical systems.Aditya Jha, Douglas Campbell, Clemency Montelle & Phillip L. Wilson - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-40.
    So-called ‘distinctively mathematical explanations’ (DMEs) are said to explain physical phenomena, not in terms of contingent causal laws, but rather in terms of mathematical necessities that constrain the physical system in question. Lange argues that the existence of four or more equilibrium positions of any double pendulum has a DME. Here we refute both Lange’s claim itself and a strengthened and extended version of the claim that would pertain to any n-tuple pendulum system on the ground that such explanations (...)
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