Results for 'reticulate causation'

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  1.  48
    Teleonomy as a problem of self-causation.Nathalie Gontier - forthcoming - Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.
    A theoretical framework is provided to explore teleonomy as a problem of self-causation, distinct from upward, downward and reticulate causation. Causality theories in biology are often formulated within hierarchy theories, where causation is conceptualized as running up or down the rungs of a ladder-like hierarchy or, more recently, as moving between multiple hierarchies. Research on the genealogy of cosmologies demonstrates that in addition to hierarchy theories, causality theories also depend upon ideas of time. This paper explores (...)
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  2.  86
    Hierarchies, Networks, and Causality: The Applied Evolutionary Epistemological Approach.Nathalie Gontier - 2021 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 52 (2):313-334.
    Applied Evolutionary Epistemology is a scientific-philosophical theory that defines evolution as the set of phenomena whereby units evolve at levels of ontological hierarchies by mechanisms and processes. This theory also provides a methodology to study evolution, namely, studying evolution involves identifying the units that evolve, the levels at which they evolve, and the mechanisms and processes whereby they evolve. Identifying units and levels of evolution in turn requires the development of ontological hierarchy theories, and examining mechanisms and processes necessitates theorizing (...)
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  3. Non-genetic inheritance: Evolution above the organismal level.Anton Sukhoverkhov & Nathalie Gontier - 2021 - Biosystems 1 (200):104325.
    The article proposes to further develop the ideas of the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis by including into evolutionary research an analysis of phenomena that occur above the organismal level. We demonstrate that the current Extended Synthesis is focused more on individual traits (genetically or non-genetically inherited) and less on community system traits (synergetic/organizational traits) that characterize transgenerational biological, ecological, social, and cultural systems. In this regard, we will consider various communities that are made up of interacting populations, and for which the (...)
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  4.  46
    Reticulate evolution underlies synergistic trait formation in human communities.Nathalie Gontier & Anton Sukhoverkhov - forthcoming - Evolutionary Anthropology.
    This paper investigates how reticulate evolution contributes to a better understanding of human sociocultural evolution in general, and community formation in particular. Reticulate evolution is evolution as it occurs by means of symbiosis, symbiogenesis, lateral gene transfer, infective heredity, and hybridization. From these mechanisms and processes, we mainly zoom in on symbiosis and we investigate how it underlies the rise of (1) human, plant, animal, and machine interactions typical of agriculture, animal husbandry, farming, and industrialization; (2) diet-microbiome relationships; (...)
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  5. Psychopower and Ordinary Madness: Reticulated Dividuals in Cognitive Capitalism.Ekin Erkan - 2019 - Cosmos and History 15 (1):214-241.
    Despite the seemingly neutral vantage of using nature for widely-distributed computational purposes, neither post-biological nor post-humanist teleology simply concludes with the real "end of nature" as entailed in the loss of the specific ontological status embedded in the identifier "natural." As evinced by the ecological crises of the Anthropocene—of which the 2019 Brazil Amazon rainforest fires are only the most recent—our epoch has transfixed the “natural order" and imposed entropic artificial integration, producing living species that become “anoetic,” made to serve (...)
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  6. Causation and Time Reversal.Matt Farr - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):177-204.
    What would it be for a process to happen backwards in time? Would such a process involve different causal relations? It is common to understand the time-reversal invariance of a physical theory in causal terms, such that whatever can happen forwards in time can also happen backwards in time. This has led many to hold that time-reversal symmetry is incompatible with the asymmetry of cause and effect. This article critiques the causal reading of time reversal. First, I argue that the (...)
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  7. Causation comes in degrees.Huzeyfe Demirtas - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-17.
    Which country, politician, or policy is more of a cause of the Covid-19 pandemic death toll? Which of the two factories causally contributed more to the pollution of the nearby river? A wide-ranging portion of our everyday thought and talk, and attitudes rely on a graded notion of causation. However, it is sometimes highlighted that on most contemporary accounts, causation is on-off. Some philosophers further question the legitimacy of talk of degrees of causation and suggest that we (...)
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  8. Causation, Norm violation, and culpable control.Mark Alicke, David Rose & Dori Bloom - 2011 - Journal of Philosophy 108 (12):670-696.
    Causation is one of philosophy's most venerable and thoroughly-analyzed concepts. However, the study of how ordinary people make causal judgments is a much more recent addition to the philosophical arsenal. One of the most prominent views of causal explanation, especially in the realm of harmful or potentially harmful behavior, is that unusual or counternormative events are accorded privileged status in ordinary causal explanations. This is a fundamental assumption in psychological theories of counterfactual reasoning, and has been transported to philosophy (...)
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  9. Causation, norms, and omissions: A study of causal judgments.Randolph Clarke, Joshua Shepherd, John Stigall, Robyn Repko Waller & Chris Zarpentine - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (2):279-293.
    Many philosophical theories of causation are egalitarian, rejecting a distinction between causes and mere causal conditions. We sought to determine the extent to which people's causal judgments discriminate, selecting as causes counternormal events—those that violate norms of some kind—while rejecting non-violators. We found significant selectivity of this sort. Moreover, priming that encouraged more egalitarian judgments had little effect on subjects. We also found that omissions are as likely as actions to be judged as causes, and that counternormative selectivity appears (...)
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  10. Mental causation without downward causation.John Gibbons - 2006 - Philosophical Review 115 (1):79-103.
    The problem of downward causation is that an intuitive response to an intuitive picture leads to counterintuitive results. Suppose a mental event, m1, causes another mental event, m2. Unless the mental and the physical are completely independent, there will be a physical event in your brain or your body or the physical world as a whole that underlies this event. The mental event occurs at least partly in virtue of the physical event’s occurring. And the same goes for m2 (...)
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  11.  54
    Legal Causation.Thomas Byrne - forthcoming - Jurisprudence:1-21.
    I propose a new formalist account of legal (/proximate) causation—one that holds legal causation to be a matter of amoral, descriptive fact. The account starts with a metaphysical relation, akin to but distinct from common-sense causation, and it argues that legal causation aligns exactly with that relation; it is unified and principled.
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  12. Causation and Its Basis in Fundamental Physics.Douglas Kutach - 2013 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    I provide a comprehensive metaphysics of causation based on the idea that fundamentally things are governed by the laws of physics, and that derivatively difference-making can be assessed in terms of what fundamental laws of physics imply for hypothesized events. Highlights include a general philosophical methodology, the fundamental/derivative distinction, and my mature account of causal asymmetry.
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  13. Agent causation as the solution to all the compatibilist’s problems.Ned Markosian - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (3):383-398.
    In a recent paper I argued that agent causation theorists should be compatibilists. In this paper, I argue that compatibilists should be agent causation theorists. I consider six of the main problems facing compatibilism: (i) the powerful intuition that one can't be responsible for actions that were somehow determined before one was born; (ii) Peter van Inwagen's modal argument, involving the inference rule (β); (iii) the objection to compatibilism that is based on claiming that the ability to do (...)
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  14. Mental Causation and Mental Reality.Tim Crane - 1992 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 92:185-202.
    The Problems of Mental Causation. Functionalism in the philosophy of mind identifies mental states with their dispositional connections with other mental states, perceptions and actions. Many theories of the mind have sailed under the Functionalist flag. But what I take to be essential to Functionalism is that mental states are individuated causally: the reality of mental states depends essentially on their causal efficacy.
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  15. Demoralizing causation.David Danks, David Rose & Edouard Machery - 2013 - Philosophical Studies (2):1-27.
    There have recently been a number of strong claims that normative considerations, broadly construed, influence many philosophically important folk concepts and perhaps are even a constitutive component of various cognitive processes. Many such claims have been made about the influence of such factors on our folk notion of causation. In this paper, we argue that the strong claims found in the recent literature on causal cognition are overstated, as they are based on one narrow type of data about a (...)
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  16. Causation as simultaneous and continuous.Michael Huemer & Ben Kovitz - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (213):556–565.
    We propose that all actual causes are simultaneous with their direct effects, as illustrated by both everyday examples and the laws of physics. We contrast this view with the sequential conception of causation, according to which causes must occur prior to their effects. The key difference between the two views of causation lies in differing assumptions about the mathematical structure of time.
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  17. Mental causation, interventions, and contrasts (2006).Panu Raatikainen -
    The problem of mental causation is discussed by taking into account some recent developments in the philosophy of science. The problem is viewed from the perspective of the new interventionist theory of causation developed by Woodward. The import of the idea that causal claims involve contrastive classes in mental causation is also discussed. It is argued that mental causation is much less a problem than it has appeared to be.
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  18. Probabilistic causation and causal processes: A critique of Lewis.Peter Menzies - 1989 - Philosophy of Science 56 (4):642-663.
    This paper examines a promising probabilistic theory of singular causation developed by David Lewis. I argue that Lewis' theory must be made more sophisticated to deal with certain counterexamples involving pre-emption. These counterexamples appear to show that in the usual case singular causation requires an unbroken causal process to link cause with effect. I propose a new probabilistic account of singular causation, within the framework developed by Lewis, which captures this intuition.
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  19. Causation and Determinable Properties : On the Efficacy of Colour, Shape, and Size.Tim Crane - 2008 - In Jakob Hohwy & Jesper Kallestrup (eds.), Being Reduced: New Essays on Reduction, Explanation, and Causation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 176-195.
    This paper presents a puzzle or antinomy about the role of properties in causation. In theories of properties, a distinction is often made between determinable properties, like red, and their determinates, like scarlet (see Armstrong 1978, volume II). Sometimes determinable properties are cited in causal explanations, as when we say that someone stopped at the traffic light because it was red. If we accept that properties can be among the relata of causation, then it can be argued that (...)
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  20. Causation, physics, and fit.Christian Loew - 2017 - Synthese 194 (6):1945–1965.
    Our ordinary causal concept seems to fit poorly with how our best physics describes the world. We think of causation as a time-asymmetric dependence relation between relatively local events. Yet fundamental physics describes the world in terms of dynamical laws that are, possible small exceptions aside, time symmetric and that relate global time slices. My goal in this paper is to show why we are successful at using local, time-asymmetric models in causal explanations despite this apparent mismatch with fundamental (...)
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  21. Agent causation as a solution to the problem of action.Michael Brent - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (5):656-673.
    My primary aim is to defend a nonreductive solution to the problem of action. I argue that when you are performing an overt bodily action, you are playing an irreducible causal role in bringing about, sustaining, and controlling the movements of your body, a causal role best understood as an instance of agent causation. Thus, the solution that I defend employs a notion of agent causation, though emphatically not in defence of an account of free will, as most (...)
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  22. Causation, exclusion, and the special sciences.Panu Raatikainen - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (3):349-363.
    The issue of downward causation (and mental causation in particular), and the exclusion problem is discussed by taking into account some recent advances in the philosophy of science. The problem is viewed from the perspective of the new interventionist theory of causation developed by Woodward. It is argued that from this viewpoint, a higher-level (e.g., mental) state can sometimes truly be causally relevant, and moreover, that the underlying physical state which realizes it may fail to be such.
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  23.  84
    Causation in Memory: Necessity, Reliability and Probability.Nikola Andonovski - 2021 - Acta Scientiarum 43 (3).
    In this paper, I argue that causal theories of memory are typically committed to two independent, non-mutually entailing theses. The first thesis pertains to the necessity of appropriate causation in memory, specifying a condition token memories need to satisfy. The second pertains to the explanation of memory reliability in causal terms and it concerns memory as a type of mental state. Post-causal theories of memory can reject only the first (weak post-causalism) or both (strong post-causalism) theses. Upon this backdrop, (...)
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  24. Mental Causation, Autonomy and Action Theory.Dwayne Moore - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (1):53-73.
    Nonreductive physicalism states that actions have sufficient physical causes and distinct mental causes. Nonreductive physicalism has recently faced the exclusion problem, according to which the single sufficient physical cause excludes the mental causes from causal efficacy. Autonomists respond by stating that while mental-to-physical causation fails, mental-to-mental causation persists. Several recent philosophers establish this autonomy result via similar models of causation :1031–1049, 2016; Zhong, J Philos 111:341–360, 2014). In this paper I argue that both of these autonomist models (...)
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  25. Causation: Determination and difference-making.Boris Kment - 2010 - Noûs 44 (1):80-111.
    Much of the modern philosophy of causation has been governed by two ideas: (i) causes make their effects inevitable; (ii) a cause is something that makes a difference to whether its effect occurs. I focus on explaining the origin of idea (ii) and its connection to (i). On my view, the frequent attempts to turn (ii) into an analysis of causation are wrongheaded. Patterns of difference-making aren't what makes causal claims true. They merely provide a useful test for (...)
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  26. Emergent Causation.Simon Prosser - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 159 (1):21-39.
    Downward causation is commonly held to create problems for ontologically emergent properties. In this paper I describe two novel examples of ontologically emergent properties and show how they avoid two main problems of downward causation, the causal exclusion problem and the causal closure problem. One example involves an object whose colour does not logically supervene on the colours of its atomic parts. The other example is inspired by quantum entanglement cases but avoids controversies regarding quantum mechanics. These examples (...)
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  27. Absence Causation and a Liberal Theory of Causal Explanation.Zhiheng Tang - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):688-705.
    For the framework of event causation—i.e. the framework according to which causation is a relation between events—absences or omissions pose a problem. Absences, it is generally agreed, are not events; so, under the framework of event causation, they cannot be causally related. But, as a matter of fact, absences are often taken to be causes or effects. The problem of absence causation is thus how to make sense of causation that apparently involves absences as causes (...)
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  28.  96
    Backwards Causation in Social Institutions.Kenneth Silver - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-19.
    Whereas many philosophers take backwards causation to be impossible, the few who maintain its possibility either take it to be absent from the actual world or else confined to theoretical physics. Here, however, I argue that backwards causation is not only actual, but common, though occurring in the context of our social institutions. After juxtaposing my cases with a few others in the literature and arguing that we should take seriously the reality of causal cases in these contexts, (...)
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  29.  99
    Timeless Causation?Zhiheng Tang - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-9.
    This paper presents a line of thought against the possibility of causation without time. That possibility, insofar as it is supposedly rested upon a Lewisian counterfactual theory of causation, does not stand up to scrutiny. The key point is that, as a reflection on the trans-world identity of events reveals, events deprived of times are—according to Lewis’s own semantics of counterfactuals—no longer eligible to stand in counterfactual dependence.
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  30. Mental Causation.Holly Andersen - 2015 - In N. Levy J. Clausen (ed.), Springer Handbook of Neuroethics. Springer.
    The problem of mental causation in contemporary philosophy of mind concerns the possibility of holding two different views that are in apparent tension. The first is physicalism, the view that there is nothing more to the world than the physical. The second is that the mental has genuine causal efficacy in a way that does not reduce to pure physical particle-bumping. This article provides a historical background to this question, with focus on Davidson’s anomalous monism and Kim’s causal exclusion (...)
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  31. Causation and the Silly Norm Effect.Levin Güver & Markus Kneer - forthcoming - In Stefan Magen & Karolina Prochownik (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Law. Bloomsbury Press.
    In many spheres, the law takes the legal concept of causation to correspond to the folk concept (the correspondence assumption). Courts, including the US Supreme Court, tend to insist on the "common understanding" and that which is "natural to say" (Burrage v. United States) when it comes to expressions relating to causation, and frequently refuse to clarify the expression to juries. As recent work in psychology and experimental philosophy has uncovered, lay attributions of causation are susceptible to (...)
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  32. Agent Causation and the Phenomenology of Agency.Randolph Clarke - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (3):747-764.
    Several philosophers claim that the phenomenology of one’s own agency conflicts with standard causal theories of action, couched in terms of causation by mental events or states. Others say that the phenomenology is prima facie incompatible with such a theory, even if in the end a reconciliation can be worked out. Here it is argued that the type of action theory in question is consistent with what can plausibly be said to be presented to us in our experience of (...)
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  33. Absence Causation for Causal Dispositionalists.Randolph Clarke - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (3):323-331.
    Several theories of causation reject causation of or by absences. They thereby clash with much of what we think and say about what causes what. This paper examines a way in which one kind of theory, causal dispositionalism, can be modified so as to accept absence causation, while still retaining a fundamental commitment of dispositionalism. The proposal adopts parts of a strategy described by David Lewis. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the problem of the (...)
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  34. Causation, Intervention and Agency—Woodward on Menzies and Price.Huw Price - 2017 - In Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Huw Price (eds.), Making a Difference. Oxford, UK: pp. 73-98.
    In his influential book 'Making Things Happen' and in other places, Jim Woodward has noted some affinities between his own account of causation and that of Menzies and Price, but argued that the latter view is implausibly ‘subjective’. In this piece I discuss Woodward’s criticisms. I argue that the Menzies and Price view is not as different from Woodward’s own account as he believes, and that in so far as it is different, it has some advantages whose importance Woodward (...)
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  35. Mental causation.George Bealer - 2007 - Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):23–54.
    Suppose that, for every event, whether mental or physical, there is some physical event causally sufficient for it. Suppose, moreover, that physical reductionism in its various forms fails—that mental properties cannot be reduced to physical properties and mental events cannot be reduced to physical events. In this case, how could there be mental causation? More specifically, how could mental events cause other mental events, physical events, and intentional actions? The primary goal of this paper is to answer this question.
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  36. Causation.Terrance A. Tomkow & Kadri Vihvelin - manuscript
    Causation is defined as a relation between facts: C causes E if and only if C and E are nomologically independent facts and C is a necessary part of a nomologically sufficient condition for E. The analysis is applied to problems of overdetermination, preemption, trumping, intransitivity, switching, and double prevention. Preventing and allowing are defined and distinguished from causing. The analysis explains the direction of causation in terms of the logical form of dynamic laws. Even in a universe (...)
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  37. Causation and melanoma classification.Brendan Clarke - 2011 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 32 (1):19-32.
    In this article, I begin by giving a brief history of melanoma causation. I then discuss the current manner in which malignant melanoma is classified. In general, these systems of classification do not take account of the manner of tumour causation. Instead, they are based on phenomenological features of the tumour, such as size, spread, and morphology. I go on to suggest that misclassification of melanoma is a major problem in clinical practice. I therefore outline an alternative means (...)
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  38. Hume, Causation and Counterfactuals.Joshua Anderson - 2019 - Humanites Bulletin 2 (1):36-49.
    What is offered here is an interpretation of Hume’s views on causation. While it might not be literally Hume’s view, it is certainly consistent with Hume, and is probably what Hume should say on causation, in light of recent developments in science and logic. As a way in, it is argued that the considerations that Hume brings against rationalist theories of causation can be applied to counterfactual theories of causation. Since, counterfactuals, possible worlds and modality were (...)
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  39. Probabilistic causation and the explanatory role of natural selection.Pablo Razeto-Barry & Ramiro Frick - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (3):344-355.
    The explanatory role of natural selection is one of the long-term debates in evolutionary biology. Nevertheless, the consensus has been slippery because conceptual confusions and the absence of a unified, formal causal model that integrates different explanatory scopes of natural selection. In this study we attempt to examine two questions: (i) What can the theory of natural selection explain? and (ii) Is there a causal or explanatory model that integrates all natural selection explananda? For the first question, we argue that (...)
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  40. Causation.Douglas Kutach - 2014 - Malden, MA: Polity.
    In most academic and non-academic circles throughout history, the world and its operation have been viewed in terms of cause and effect. The principles of causation have been applied, fruitfully, across the sciences, law, medicine, and in everyday life, despite the lack of any agreed-upon framework for understanding what causation ultimately amounts to. In this engaging and accessible introduction to the topic, Douglas Kutach explains and analyses the most prominent theories and examples in the philosophy of causation. (...)
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  41. Causation: Empirical Trends and Future Directions.David Rose & David Danks - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (9):643-653.
    Empirical research has recently emerged as a key method for understanding the nature of causation, and our concept of causation. One thread of research aims to test intuitions about the nature of causation in a variety of classic cases. These experiments have principally been used to try to resolve certain debates within analytic philosophy, most notably that between proponents of transference and dependence views of causation. The other major thread of empirical research on our concept of (...)
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  42. Causation in medicine.Brendan Clarke - 2012 - In Wenceslao J. Gonzalez (ed.), Conceptual Revolutions: from Cognitive Science to Medicine. Netbiblo.
    In this paper, I offer one example of conceptual change. Specifically, I contend that the discovery that viruses could cause cancer represents an excellent example of branch jumping, one of Thagard’s nine forms of conceptual change. Prior to about 1960, cancer was generally regarded as a degenerative, chronic, non-infectious disease. Cancer causation was therefore usually held to be a gradual process of accumulating cellular damage, caused by relatively non-specific component causes, acting over long periods of time. Viral infections, on (...)
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  43. Causation in Physics & in Phyiscalism.Justin Tiehen - forthcoming - Acta Analytica.
    It is widely thought that there is an important argument to be made that starts with premises taken from the science of physics and ends with the conclusion of physicalism. The standard view is that this argument takes the form of a causal argument for physicalism. Roughly: physics tells us that the physical realm is causally complete, and so minds (among other entities) must be physical if they are to interact with the world as we think they do. In what (...)
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  44.  83
    Mental causation: Anatomy of a problem.Eduardo A. Rabossi - 2002 - Manuscrito 25 (3):285-304.
    The origins and development of the problem of mental causation are outlined. The underlying presuppositions which give rise to the problem are identified. Possible strategies for solving, or dissolving the problem are examined.
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  45. Self-Causation and Unity in Stoicism.Reier Helle - 2021 - Phronesis 66 (2):178-213.
    According to the Stoics, ordinary unified bodies—animals, plants, and inanimate natural bodies—each have a single cause of unity and being: pneuma. Pneuma itself has no distinct cause of unity; on the contrary, it acts as a cause of unity and being for itself. In this paper, I show how pneuma is supposed to be able to unify itself and other bodies in virtue of its characteristic tensile motion (τονικὴ κίνησις). Thus, we will see how the Stoics could have hoped to (...)
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  46. Causation and Mental Content: Against the Externalist Interpretation of Ockham.Susan Brower-Toland - 2017 - In Magali Elise Roques & Jenny Pelletier (eds.), The Language of Thought in Late Medieval Philosophy. Essays in Honour of Claude Panaccio.
    On the dominant interpretation, Ockham is an externalist about mental content. This reading is founded principally on his theory of intuitive cognition. Intuitive cognition plays a foundational role in Ockham’s account of concept formation and judgment, and Ockham insists that the content of intuitive states is determined by the causal relations such states bear to their objects. The aim of this paper is to challenge the externalist interpretation by situating Ockham’s account of intuitive cognition vis-à-vis his broader account of efficient (...)
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  47. Patterns, Information, and Causation.Holly Andersen - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (11):592-622.
    This paper articulates an account of causation as a collection of information-theoretic relationships between patterns instantiated in the causal nexus. I draw on Dennett’s account of real patterns to characterize potential causal relata as patterns with specific identification criteria and noise tolerance levels, and actual causal relata as those patterns instantiated at some spatiotemporal location in the rich causal nexus as originally developed by Salmon. I develop a representation framework using phase space to precisely characterize causal relata, including their (...)
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  48. Agent-Causation Revisited: Origination and Contemporary Theories of Free Will.Thad Botham - 2008 - Berlin, Germany: Verlag D Müller.
    Sometimes you make a choice. Whether or not you made it was up to you. The choice was free. But how can this be? A scientific view of the world may leave no room for free choice. Free will literature continually explodes. Yet experts still focus on control or on a power to do otherwise. Sadly, they neglect another intuitive feature of free will: being an underived source or ultimate originator. When acting freely, one is a self-determined, self-directed, sole author (...)
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  49. Mechanistic Causation: Difference-Making is Enough.Stathis Psillos & Stavros Ioannidis - 2019 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 3 (38):53-75.
    In this paper we defend the view that mechanisms are underpinned by networks of difference-making relations. First, we distinguish and criticise two different kinds of arguments in favour of an activity-based understanding of mechanism: Glennan’s metaphysics- first approach and Illari and Williamson’s science-first approach. Second, we present an alternative difference-making view of mechanism and illustrate it by looking at the history of the case of scurvy prevention. We use the case of scurvy to argue that evidence for a mechanism just (...)
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  50. Inferring causation in epidemiology: mechanisms, black boxes, and contrasts.Alex Broadbent - 2011 - In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press. pp. 45--69.
    This chapter explores the idea that causal inference is warranted if and only if the mechanism underlying the inferred causal association is identified. This mechanistic stance is discernible in the epidemiological literature, and in the strategies adopted by epidemiologists seeking to establish causal hypotheses. But the exact opposite methodology is also discernible, the black box stance, which asserts that epidemiologists can and should make causal inferences on the basis of their evidence, without worrying about the mechanisms that might underlie their (...)
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