Making Things Happen

Author: James Woodward
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198035336
Format: PDF, ePub
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In Making Things Happen, James Woodward develops a new and ambitious comprehensive theory of causation and explanation that draws on literature from a variety of disciplines and which applies to a wide variety of claims in science and everyday life. His theory is a manipulationist account, proposing that causal and explanatory relationships are relationships that are potentially exploitable for purposes of manipulation and control. This account has its roots in the commonsense idea that causes are means for bringing about effects; but it also draws on a long tradition of work in experimental design, econometrics, and statistics. Woodward shows how these ideas may be generalized to other areas of science from the social scientific and biomedical contexts for which they were originally designed. He also provides philosophical foundations for the manipulationist approach, drawing out its implications, comparing it with alternative approaches, and defending it from common criticisms. In doing so, he shows how the manipulationist account both illuminates important features of successful causal explanation in the natural and social sciences, and avoids the counterexamples and difficulties that infect alternative approaches, from the deductive-nomological model onwards. Making Things Happen will interest philosophers working in the philosophy of science, the philosophy of social science, and metaphysics, and as well as anyone interested in causation, explanation, and scientific methodology.

Causality and Explanation

Author: Wesley C. Salmon
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198026822
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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For over two decades Wesley Salmon has helped to shape the course of debate in philosophy of science. He is a major contributor to the philosophical discussion of problems associated with causality and the author of two influential books on scientific explanation. This long-awaited volume collects twenty- six of Salmon's essays, including seven that have never before been published and others difficult to find. Part I comprises five introductory essays that presuppose no formal training in philosophy of science and form a background for subsequent essays. Parts II and III contain Salmon's seminal work on scientific explanation and causality. Part IV offers survey articles that feature advanced material but remain accessible to those outside philosophy of science. Essays in Part V address specific issues in particular scientific disciplines, namely, archaeology and anthropology, astrophysics and cosmology, and physics. Clear, compelling, and essential, this volume offers a superb introduction to philosophy of science for nonspecialists and belongs on the bookshelf of all who carry out work in this exciting field. Wesley Salmon is renowned for his seminal contributions to the philosophy of science. He has powerfully and permanently shaped discussion of such issues as lawlike and probabilistic explanation and the interrelation of explanatory notions to causal notions. This unique volume brings together twenty-six of his essays on subjects related to causality and explanation, written over the period 1971-1995. Six of the essays have never been published before and many others have only appeared in obscure venues. The volume includes a section of accessible introductory pieces, as well as more advanced and technical pieces, and will make essential work in the philosophy of science readily available to both scholars and students.

Causation and Counterfactuals

Author: John David Collins
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262532563
Format: PDF
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A collection of important recent work on thecounterfactual analysis of causation.

Simulation and Similarity

Author: Michael Weisberg
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 0199933669
Format: PDF, Docs
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This book is an account of modeling and idealization in modern scientific practice, focusing on concrete, mathematical, and computational models. The main topics of this book are the nature of models, the practice of modeling, and the nature of the relationship between models and real-world phenomena. In order to elucidate the model/world relationship, Weisberg develops a novel account of similarity called weighted feature matching.

Depth

Author: Michael Strevens
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674031838
Format: PDF, ePub
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Strevens proposes a novel theory of scientific explanation and understanding that overhauls and augments the familiar causal approach to explanation. The result is an account of explanation that has especially significant consequences for the higher-level sciences: biology, psychology, economics, and other social sciences.

Philosophy of Science Very Short Introduction

Author: Samir Okasha
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191062790
Format: PDF, Kindle
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How much faith should we place in what scientists tell us? Is it possible for scientific knowledge to be fully 'objective'? What, really, can be defined as science? In the second edition of this Very Short Introduction, Samir Okasha explores the main themes and theories of contemporary philosophy of science, and investigates fascinating, challenging questions such as these. Starting at the very beginning, with a concise overview of the history of science, Okasha examines the nature of fundamental practices such as reasoning, causation, and explanation. Looking at scientific revolutions and the issue of scientific change, he asks whether there is a discernible pattern to the way scientific ideas change over time, and discusses realist versus anti-realist attitudes towards science. He finishes by considering science today, and the social and ethical philosophical questions surrounding modern science. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Ant Trap

Author: Brian Epstein
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199381119
Format: PDF, Docs
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We live in a world of crowds and corporations, artworks and artifacts, legislatures and languages, money and markets. These are all social objects - they are made, at least in part, by people and by communities. But what exactly are these things? How are they made, and what is the role of people in making them? In The Ant Trap, Brian Epstein rewrites our understanding of the nature of the social world and the foundations of the social sciences. Epstein explains and challenges the three prevailing traditions about how the social world is made. One tradition takes the social world to be built out of people, much as traffic is built out of cars. A second tradition also takes people to be the building blocks of the social world, but focuses on thoughts and attitudes we have toward one another. And a third tradition takes the social world to be a collective projection onto the physical world. Epstein shows that these share critical flaws. Most fundamentally, all three traditions overestimate the role of people in building the social world: they are overly anthropocentric. Epstein starts from scratch, bringing the resources of contemporary metaphysics to bear. In the place of traditional theories, he introduces a model based on a new distinction between the grounds and the anchors of social facts. Epstein illustrates the model with a study of the nature of law, and shows how to interpret the prevailing traditions about the social world. Then he turns to social groups, and to what it means for a group to take an action or have an intention. Contrary to the overwhelming consensus, these often depend on more than the actions and intentions of group members.

The New Mechanical Philosophy

Author: Stuart Glennan
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191085294
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The New Mechanical Philosophy argues for a new image of nature and of science—one that understands both natural and social phenomena to be the product of mechanisms, and that casts the work of science as an effort to discover and understand those mechanisms. Drawing on an expanding literature on mechanisms in physical, life, and social sciences, Stuart Glennan offers an account of the nature of mechanisms and of the models used to represent them. A key quality of mechanisms is that they are particulars - located at different places and times, with no one just like another. The crux of the scientist's challenge is to balance the complexity and particularity of mechanisms with our need for representations of them that are abstract and general. This volume weaves together metaphysical and methodological questions about mechanisms. Metaphysically, it explores the implications of the mechanistic framework for our understanding of classical philosophical questions about the nature of objects, properties, processes, events, causal relations, natural kinds and laws of nature. Methodologically, the book explores how scientists build models to represent and understand phenomena and the mechanisms responsible for them. Using this account of representation, Glennan offers a scheme for characterizing the enormous diversity of things that scientists call mechanisms, and explores the scope and limits of mechanistic explanation.

The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics

Author: Harold Kincaid
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 0195189256
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This volume is the first comprehensive, cohesive, and accessible reference source to the philosophy of economics, presenting important new scholarship by top scholars.

The Oxford Handbook of Causal Reasoning

Author: Michael Waldmann
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199399557
Format: PDF
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Causal reasoning is one of our most central cognitive competencies, enabling us to adapt to our world. Causal knowledge allows us to predict future events, or diagnose the causes of observed facts. We plan actions and solve problems using knowledge about cause-effect relations. Although causal reasoning is a component of most of our cognitive functions, it has been neglected in cognitive psychology for many decades. The Oxford Handbook of Causal Reasoning offers a state-of-the-art review of the growing field, and its contribution to the world of cognitive science. The Handbook begins with an introduction of competing theories of causal learning and reasoning. In the next section, it presents research about basic cognitive functions involved in causal cognition, such as perception, categorization, argumentation, decision-making, and induction. The following section examines research on domains that embody causal relations, including intuitive physics, legal and moral reasoning, psychopathology, language, social cognition, and the roles of space and time. The final section presents research from neighboring fields that study developmental, phylogenetic, and cultural differences in causal cognition. The chapters, each written by renowned researchers in their field, fill in the gaps of many cognitive psychology textbooks, emphasizing the crucial role of causal structures in our everyday lives. This Handbook is an essential read for students and researchers of the cognitive sciences, including cognitive, developmental, social, comparative, and cross-cultural psychology; philosophy; methodology; statistics; artificial intelligence; and machine learning.