Making Things Happen

Author: James Woodward
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198035336
Format: PDF, Mobi
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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, 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.

Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics

Author: Hsiang-Ke Chao
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9400724543
Format: PDF, Mobi
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This volume addresses fundamental issues in the philosophy of science in the context of two most intriguing fields: biology and economics. Written by authorities and experts in the philosophy of biology and economics, Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics provides a structured study of the concepts of mechanism and causality in these disciplines and draws careful juxtapositions between philosophical apparatus and scientific practice. By exploring the issues that are most salient to the contemporary philosophies of biology and economics and by presenting comparative analyses, the book serves as a platform not only for gaining mutual understanding between scientists and philosophers of the life sciences and those of the social sciences, but also for sharing interdisciplinary research that combines both philosophical concepts in both fields. The book begins by defining the concepts of mechanism and causality in biology and economics, respectively. The second and third parts investigate philosophical perspectives of various causal and mechanistic issues in scientific practice in the two fields. These two sections include chapters on causal issues in the theory of evolution; experiments and scientific discovery; representation of causal relations and mechanism by models in economics. The concluding section presents interdisciplinary studies of various topics concerning extrapolation of life sciences and social sciences, including chapters on the philosophical investigation of conjoining biological and economic analyses with, respectively, demography, medicine and sociology.

Depth

Author: Michael Strevens
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674031838
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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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.

Four Decades of Scientific Explanation

Author: Wesley C. Salmon
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
ISBN: 0822973022
Format: PDF, Docs
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As Aristotle stated, scientific explanation is based on deductive argument--yet, Wesley C. Salmon points out, not all deductive arguments are qualified explanations. The validity of the explanation must itself be examined. Four Decades of Scientific Explanation provides a comprehensive account of the developments in scientific explanation that transpired in the last four decades of the twentieth century. It continues to stand as the most comprehensive treatment of the writings on the subject during these years. Building on the historic 1948 essay by Carl G. Hempel and Paul Oppenheim, "Studies in the Logic of Explanation,” which introduced the deductive-nomological (D-N) model on which most work on scientific explanation was based for the following four decades, Salmon goes beyond this model's inherent basis of describing empirical knowledge to tells us “not only what, but also why.” Salmon examines the predominant models in chronological order and describes their development, refinement, and criticism or rejection. Four Decades of Scientific Explanation underscores the need for a consensus of approach and ongoing evaluations of methodology in scientific explanation, with the goal of providing a better understanding of natural phenomena.

Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility

Author: David Shoemaker
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198805608
Format: PDF, ePub
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Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility is a series of volumes presenting outstanding new work on a set of connected themes, investigating such questions as: DT What does it mean to be an agent? DT What is the nature of moral responsibility? Of criminal responsibility? What is the relation between moral and criminal responsibility (if any)? DT What is the relation between responsibility and the metaphysical issues of determinism and free will? DT What do various psychological disorders tell us about agency and responsibility? DT How do moral agents develop? How does this developmental story bear on questions about the nature of moral judgment and responsibility? DT What do the results from neuroscience imply (if anything) for our questions about agency and responsibility? OSAR thus straddles the areas of moral philosophy and philosophy of action, but also draws from a diverse range of cross-disciplinary sources, including moral psychology, psychology proper (including experimental and developmental), philosophy of psychology, philosophy of law, legal theory, metaphysics, neuroscience, neuroethics, political philosophy, and more. It is unified by its focus on who we are as deliberators and (inter)actors, embodied practical agents negotiating (sometimes unsuccessfully) a world of moral and legal norms.

Forms of Explanation

Author: Alan Garfinkel
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780300049022
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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What makes one explanation better than another? How can we tell when an explanation has really answered our question? In a lively and readable discussion, Garfinkel argues that the key to understanding an explanation is to discover what question is really being answered. He then suggests criteria for a good explanation and goes on to examine some classic explanations in social and natural science.

Inconsistency Asymmetry and Non Locality

Author: Mathias Frisch
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199883777
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Mathias Frisch provides the first sustained philosophical discussion of conceptual problems in classical particle-field theories. Part of the book focuses on the problem of a satisfactory equation of motion for charged particles interacting with electromagnetic fields. As Frisch shows, the standard equation of motion results in a mathematically inconsistent theory, yet there is no fully consistent and conceptually unproblematic alternative theory. Frisch describes in detail how the search for a fundamental equation of motion is partly driven by pragmatic considerations (like simplicity and mathematical tractability) that can override the aim for full consistency. The book also offers a comprehensive review and criticism of both the physical and philosophical literature on the temporal asymmetry exhibited by electromagnetic radiation fields, including Einstein's discussion of the asymmetry and Wheeler and Feynman's influential absorber theory of radiation. Frisch argues that attempts to derive the asymmetry from thermodynamic or cosmological considerations fail and proposes that we should understand the asymmetry as due to a fundamental causal constraint. The book's overarching philosophical thesis is that standard philosophical accounts that strictly identify scientific theories with a mathematical formalism and a mapping function specifying the theory's ontology are inadequate, since they permit neither inconsistent yet genuinely successful theories nor thick causal notions to be part of fundamental physics.

The Laws of Belief

Author: Wolfgang Spohn
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199697507
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Wolfgang Spohn presents the first full account of the dynamic laws of belief, by means of ranking theory, a relative of probability theory which he has pioneered since the 1980s. He offers novel insights into the nature of laws, the theory of causation, inductive reasoning and its experiential base, and a priori principles of reason.

The Oxford Handbook of Causation

Author: Helen Beebee
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191629464
Format: PDF, ePub
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Causation is a central topic in many areas of philosophy. In metaphysics, philosophers want to know what causation is, and how it is related to laws of nature, probability, action, and freedom of the will. In epistemology, philosophers investigate how causal claims can be inferred from statistical data, and how causation is related to perception, knowledge and explanation. In the philosophy of mind, philosophers want to know whether and how the mind can be said to have causal efficacy, and in ethics, whether there is a moral distinction between acts and omissions and whether the moral value of an act can be judged according to its consequences. And causation is a contested concept in other fields of enquiry, such as biology, physics, and the law. This book provides an in-depth and comprehensive overview of these and other topics, as well as the history of the causation debate from the ancient Greeks to the logical empiricists. The chapters provide surveys of contemporary debates, while often also advancing novel and controversial claims; and each includes a comprehensive bibliography and suggestions for further reading. The book is thus the most comprehensive source of information about causation currently available, and will be invaluable for upper-level undergraduates through to professional philosophers.