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, Mobi
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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.

Philosophy of Psychology Causality and Psychological Subject

Author: Wenceslao J. Gonzalez
Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG
ISBN: 3110576058
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Contemporary philosophy of science analyzes psychology as a science with special features, because this discipline includes some specific philosophical problems – descriptive and normative, structural and dynamic. Some of these are particularly relevant both theoretically (casual explanation) and practically (the configuration of the psychological subject and its relations with psychiatry). Two central aspects in this book are the role of causality, especially conceived as intervention or manipulation, and the characterization of the psychological subject. This requires a clarification of scientific explanations in terms of causality in psychology, because characterizations of causality are quite different in epistemological and ontological terms. One of the most influential views is James Woodward’s approach to causality as intervention, which entails an analysis of its characteristics, new elements and limits. This means taking into account the structural and dynamic aspects included in causal cognition and psychological explanations. Psychology seen as special science also requires us to consider the scientific status of psychology and the psychological subject, which leads to limits of naturalism in psychology.

How the Laws of Physics Lie

Author: Nancy Cartwright
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198247044
Format: PDF
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Nancy Cartwright argues for a novel conception of the role of fundamental scientific laws in modern natural science. If we attend closely to the manner in which theoretical laws figure in the practice of science, we see that despite their great explanatory power these laws do not describe reality. Instead, fundamental laws describe highly idealized objects in models.

Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics

Author: Hsiang-Ke Chao
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9400724543
Format: PDF, Docs
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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.

The Laws of Belief

Author: Wolfgang Spohn
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199697507
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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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.

Depth

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

Because Without Cause

Author: Marc Lange
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190269499
Format: PDF, ePub
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Not all scientific explanations work by describing causal connections between events or the world's overall causal structure. Some mathematical proofs explain why the theorems being proved hold. In this book, Marc Lange proposes philosophical accounts of many kinds of non-causal explanations in science and mathematics. These topics have been unjustly neglected in the philosophy of science and mathematics. One important kind of non-causal scientific explanation is termed explanation by constraint. These explanations work by providing information about what makes certain facts especially inevitable - more necessary than the ordinary laws of nature connecting causes to their effects. Facts explained in this way transcend the hurly-burly of cause and effect. Many physicists have regarded the laws of kinematics, the great conservation laws, the coordinate transformations, and the parallelogram of forces as having explanations by constraint. This book presents an original account of explanations by constraint, concentrating on a variety of examples from classical physics and special relativity. This book also offers original accounts of several other varieties of non-causal scientific explanation. Dimensional explanations work by showing how some law of nature arises merely from the dimensional relations among the quantities involved. Really statistical explanations include explanations that appeal to regression toward the mean and other canonical manifestations of chance. Lange provides an original account of what makes certain mathematical proofs but not others explain what they prove. Mathematical explanation connects to a host of other important mathematical ideas, including coincidences in mathematics, the significance of giving multiple proofs of the same result, and natural properties in mathematics. Introducing many examples drawn from actual science and mathematics, with extended discussions of examples from Lagrange, Desargues, Thomson, Sylvester, Maxwell, Rayleigh, Einstein, and Feynman, Because Without Cause's proposals and examples should set the agenda for future work on non-causal explanation.