Causation

Edited by Thomas Blanchard (University of Cologne)
Assistant editor: Zili Dong (University of Western Ontario)
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  1. Alguns Argumentos Contra o Recurso à Figura do Comportamento Lícito Alternativo Como Critério de Imputação Objetiva.Ricardo Tavares da Silva - 2022 - In Vários (ed.), Prof. Doutor Augusto Silva Dias In Memoriam. Lisboa, Portugal: pp. 479-498.
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  2. Homeostatic Property Cluster Theory Without Homeostatic Mechanisms: Two Recent Attempts and Their Costs.Yukinori Onishi & Davide Serpico - 2021 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie N/A (N/A):1-22.
    The homeostatic property cluster theory is widely influential for its ability to account for many natural-kind terms in the life sciences. However, the notion of homeostatic mechanism has never been fully explicated. In 2009, Carl Craver interpreted the notion in the sense articulated in discussions on mechanistic explanation and pointed out that the HPC account equipped with such notion invites interest-relativity. In this paper, we analyze two recent refinements on HPC: one that avoids any reference to the causes of the (...)
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Theories of Causation
  1. The Limits of Causality.Louis Caruana - 2020 - In A. Balsas & B. Nobre (eds.), The Insides of Nature: Causality and Conceptions of Nature. Braga: Axioma – Publicacoes da Faculdade de Filosofia. pp. 31-54.
    For decades, much literature on causality has focused on causal processes and causal reasoning in the natural sciences. According to a relatively new trend however, such research on causality remains insufficient because of its refusal to accept a certain degree of pluralism within the concept, a pluralism that is evident in how we use ideas of cause and effect in everyday life. I will build on work in this latter trend, following philosophers like G. E. M. Anscombe and N. Cartwright. (...)
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  2. Causation Comes in Degrees.Huzeyfe Demirtas - forthcoming - Synthese.
    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 avoid it. Some (...)
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  3. Disentangling Dispositions From Powers.Andrei A. Buckareff - forthcoming - Dialogue:1-15.
    Many powers-realists assume that the powers of objects are identical with the dispositions of objects and, hence, that ‘power’ and ‘disposition’ are interchangeable. In this article, I aim to disentangle dispositions from powers with the goal of getting a better sense of how powers and dispositions relate to one another. I present and defend a modest realism about dispositions built upon a standard strong realism about powers. I argue that each correct disposition-ascription we can make of an object is made (...)
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  4. Interventionism and Non-Causal Dependence Relations: New Work for a Theory of Supervenience.Vera Hoffmann-Kolss - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    Causes must be distinct from their effects. If the temperature in a room is 15°F, this can cause water pipes to freeze. However, the temperature’s being 15°F is not a cause of the temperature’s being below the freezing point. In general, conceptual, logical, mathematical, and other non-causal dependence relations should not be misclassified as causal. In this paper, I discuss how interventionist theories of causation can meet the challenge of distinguishing between (direct or indirect) causal relations and dependence relations that (...)
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  5. The 'Noncausal Causality' of Quantum Information.Vasil Penchev - 2021 - Philosophy of Science eJournal (Elsevier: SSRN) 14 (45):1-7.
    The paper is concentrated on the special changes of the conception of causality from quantum mechanics to quantum information meaning as a background the revolution implemented by the former to classical physics and science after Max Born’s probabilistic reinterpretation of wave function. Those changes can be enumerated so: (1) quantum information describes the general case of the relation of two wave functions, and particularly, the causal amendment of a single one; (2) it keeps the physical description to be causal by (...)
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  6. A dynamical systems approach to causation.Peter Fazekas, Balazs Gyenis, Gábor Hofer-Szabó & Gergely Kertesz - 2019 - Synthese 198 (7):6065-6087.
    Our approach aims at accounting for causal claims in terms of how the physical states of the underlying dynamical system evolve with time. Causal claims assert connections between two sets of physicals states—their truth depends on whether the two sets in question are genuinely connected by time evolution such that physical states from one set evolve with time into the states of the other set. We demonstrate the virtues of our approach by showing how it is able to account for (...)
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  7. A Ramsey Test Analysis of Causation for Causal Models.Holger Andreas & Mario Günther - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (2):587-615.
    We aim to devise a Ramsey test analysis of actual causation. Our method is to define a strengthened Ramsey test for causal models. Unlike the accounts of Halpern and Pearl ([2005]) and Halpern ([2015]), the resulting analysis deals satisfactorily with both over- determination and conjunctive scenarios.
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  8. Mary Shepherd on the Role of Proofs in Our Knowledge of First Principles.M. Folescu - forthcoming - Noûs.
    This paper examines the role of reason in Shepherd's account of acquiring knowledge of the external world via first principles. Reason is important, but does not have a foundational role. Certain principles enable us to draw the required inferences for acquiring knowledge of the external world. These principles are basic, foundational and, more importantly, self‐evident and thus justified in other ways than by demonstration. Justificatory demonstrations of these principles are neither required, nor possible. By drawing on textual and contextual evidence, (...)
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  9. Indeterminism in Quantum Mechanics: Beyond and/or Within.Vasil Penchev - 2020 - Development of Innovation eJournal (Elsevier: SSRN) 8 (68):1-5.
    The problem of indeterminism in quantum mechanics usually being considered as a generalization determinism of classical mechanics and physics for the case of discrete (quantum) changes is interpreted as an only mathematical problem referring to the relation of a set of independent choices to a well-ordered series therefore regulated by the equivalence of the axiom of choice and the well-ordering “theorem”. The former corresponds to quantum indeterminism, and the latter, to classical determinism. No other premises (besides the above only mathematical (...)
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  10. Grounding at a distance.Sam Baron, Kristie Miller & Jonathan Tallant - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3373-3390.
    What distinguishes causation from grounding? One suggestion is that causation, but not grounding, occurs over time. Recently, however, counterexamples to this simple temporal criterion have been offered. In this paper, we situate the temporal criterion within a broader framework that focuses on two aspects: locational overlapping in space and time and the presence of intermediaries in space and time. We consider, and reject, the idea that the difference between grounding and causation is that grounding can occur without intermediaries. We go (...)
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  11. The Problem of Natural Divine Causation and the Benefits of Partial Causation: A Response to Skogholt.Mikael Leidenhag - 2020 - Zygon 55 (3):696-709.
  12. The Inconsistency of Empiricist Argumentation Concerning the Problem of the Lawfulness of Nature.Dieter Wandschneider - 1986 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 17:131–142.
    The well-known empiricist apories of the lawfulness of nature prevent an adequate philosophical interpretation of empirical science until this day. Clarification can only be expected through an immanent refutation of the empiricist point of view. My argument is that Hume’s claim, paradigmatic for modern empiricism, is not just inconsequent, but simply contradictory: Empiricism denies that a lawlike character of nature can be substantiated. But, as is shown, anyone who claimes experience to be the basis of knowledge (as the empiricist naturally (...)
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  13. Avicenna on the Soul's Power to Manipulate Material Objects.Yasin Ramazan Basaran - 2015 - Eskiyeni 30 (2):145-157.
    In his article on the foundations of Ficino’s ideas on magic, James Hankins observes that, where Ficino justifies non-material causation in the universe, he is heavily indebted to Avicenna. As Hankins also points out, this Avicennan idea clearly violates the Aristotelian maxim that ‘physical causation requires contact’. Because Avicenna holds the view that the soul is neither a physical entity nor simply the form of body, Avicenna’s consent to the soul to manipulate material objects means assignment of the soul to (...)
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  14. Nature, God, and Creation: A Necessitarian Case.Yasin Ramazan Basaran - 2018 - Dissertation, Indiana University Bloomington
    The theistic doctrine of creation highlights the significance of the world's dependence on God. For this doctrine, a variety of justifications have been offered based on the ontological and epistemological commitments of a philosopher or theologian. In this dissertation, I defend the thesis that the theistic doctrine of creation is strongly justified when on the one hand the integrity of nature is established by affirming causal necessity while on the other hand the sovereignty of God is maintained by affirming divine (...)
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  15. Physics' Contribution to Causation.Max Kistler - 2020 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy (AO):21-46.
    Most philosophers of physics are eliminativists about causation. Following Bertrand Russell’s lead, they think that causation is a folk concept that cannot be rationally reconstructed within a worldview informed by contemporary physics. Against this thesis, I argue that physics contributes to shaping the concept of causation, in two ways. 1. Special Relativity is a physical theory that expresses causal constraints. 2. The physical concept of a conserved quantity can be used in the functional reduction of the notion of causation. The (...)
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  16. Making Sense of Downward Causation in Manipulationism. Illustrations From Cancer Research.Christophe Malaterre - 2011 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 4 (33):537-562.
    Many researchers consider cancer to have molecular causes, namely mutated genes that result in abnormal cell proliferation (e.g. Weinberg 1998); yet for others, the causes of cancer are to be found not at the molecular level but at the tissue level and carcinogenesis would consist in a disrupted tissue organization with downward causation effects on cells and cellular components (e.g. Sonnenschein & Soto 2008). In this contribution, I ponder how to make sense of such downward causation claims. Adopting a manipulationist (...)
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  17. Quantum Theory and the Place of Mind in the Causal Order of Things.Paavo Pylkkänen - 2019 - In J. De Barros & Carlos Montemayor (eds.), Quanta and Mind: Essays on the Connection between Quantum Mechanics and the Consciousness. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Publishing Company. pp. 163-171.
    The received view in physicalist philosophy of mind assumes that causation can only take place at the physical domain and that the physical domain is causally closed. It is often thought that this leaves no room for mental states qua mental to have a causal influence upon the physical domain, leading to epiphenomenalism and the problem of mental causation. However, in recent philosophy of causation there has been growing interest in a line of thought that can be called causal antifundamentalism: (...)
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  18. Powerful Substances Because of Powerless Powers.Davis Kuykendall - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (3):339-356.
    I argue that the debate between proponents of substance causation and proponents of causation by powers, as to whether substances or their powers are causes, hinges on whether or not powers are self-exemplifying or non-self-exemplifying properties. Substance causation is committed to powers being non-self-exemplifying properties while causation by powers is committed to powers being self-exemplifying properties. I then argue that powers are non-self-exemplifying properties, in support of substance causation.
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  19. Armstrong’s Theory of Laws and Causation: Putting Things Into Their Proper Places.S. M. Hassan A. Shirazi - 2018 - Problemos 94:61.
    [full article, abstract in English; abstract in Lithuanian] Armstrong’s theory of laws and causation may be articulated as something like the following, which we may refer to as the received view: “Laws are intrinsic higher-order relations of ensuring between properties. The instantiation of laws is identical with singular causation. This identity is a posteriori.” Opponents and advocates of this view, believe that it may fairly and correctly be attributed to Armstrong. I do not deny it; instead I seek to reconsider (...)
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  20. Experimental Design: Ethics, Integrity and the Scientific Method.Jonathan Lewis - 2020 - In Ron Iphofen (ed.), Handbook of Research Ethics and Scientific Integrity. Cham, Switzerland: pp. 459-474.
    Experimental design is one aspect of a scientific method. A well-designed, properly conducted experiment aims to control variables in order to isolate and manipulate causal effects and thereby maximize internal validity, support causal inferences, and guarantee reliable results. Traditionally employed in the natural sciences, experimental design has become an important part of research in the social and behavioral sciences. Experimental methods are also endorsed as the most reliable guides to policy effectiveness. Through a discussion of some of the central concepts (...)
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  21. Providencia divina y valor ontológico de los singulares: la polémica filosófica tardoantigua y la posición de Orígenes y de Nemesio de Émesa.Francisco Bastitta-Harriet - 2012 - Patristica Et Medievalia 33:37-50.
    El presente trabajo se concentra en el debate acerca de los alcances de la providencia que tuvo lugar entre las escuelas estoica, platónica y peripatética entre las siglos I y III de nuestra era. En ese contexto, analiza el problema del status ontológico de los singulares en Orígenes de Alejandría y Nemesio de Émesa. Influidos primariamente por la síntesis filoniana entre las distintas teorías griegas de providencia y la de las Escrituras, estos autores fundan la consistencia de los singulares en (...)
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  22. Does God ‘Follow’ Human Decision? An Interpretation of a Passage From Gregory of Nyssa’s De Vita Moysis (II 86).Francisco Bastitta-Harriet - 2013 - Studia Patristica 67 (15):101-112.
    The peculiar emphases of Gregory of Nyssa’s thought earned him all kinds of charges, in his own lifetime and onwards: among others, that he falls into Tritheism, Modalism, Synergism, Pelagianism or Semi-Pelagianism. The purpose of this paper is to interpret one of these theoretical audacities. It can be found in a passage from his late treatise De vita Moysis (II 86), where he refers to the evils suffered by the Egyptians in the book of Exodus, and he attributes their cause (...)
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  23. Causal Attributions and Corpus Analysis.Sytsma Justin, Bluhm Roland, Willemsen Pascale & Reuter Kevin - forthcoming - In Eugen Fischer (ed.), Methodological Advances in Experimental Philosophy. Bloomsbury Press.
    Although philosophers have often held that causation is a purely descriptive notion, a growing body of experimental work on ordinary causal attributions using questionnaire methods indicates that it is heavily influenced by normative information. These results have been the subject of sceptical challenges. Additionally, those who find the results compelling have disagreed about how best to explain them. In this chapter, we help resolve these debates by using a new set of tools to investigate ordinary causal attributions—the methods of corpus (...)
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  24. Anchoring Causal Connections in Physical Concepts.Roland Poellinger & Mario Hubert - 2014 - In Maria Clara Galavotti, Dennis Dieks, W. J. Gonzalez, Stephan Hartmann, Thomas Uebel & Marcel Weber (eds.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Science. pp. 501-509.
    In their paper "How Fundamental Physics represents Causality", Andreas Bartels and Daniel Wohlfarth maintain that there is place for causality in General Relativity. Their argument contains two steps: First they show that there are time-asymmetric models in General Relativity, then they claim to derive that two events are causally connected if and only if there is a time-asymmetric energy flow from one event to the other. In our comment we first give a short summary of their paper followed by a (...)
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  25. The Kind ‘Object’.Johan Gamper - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-4.
    On the recently suggested loophole view of causal closure, nothing in a universe has its cause coming from another universe. It is allowed, though, that something, especially a first thing, can have its cause situated in an interface between universes. However, the possibility of such an interface does not mean that there is any actual interface. In fact, there are several major obstacles to be managed before an interface should be hoped for. One such obstacle, the need for an account (...)
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  26. Substance Causation.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2018 - Philosophia:1-22.
    I defend the thesis that, if there are substances, substance causation (i.e., causation by substances) is the only sort of causation in the universe – or the only fundamental sort. Subsequently, I develop an account of substance causation that is partly grounded on a peculiar interpretation of absolute change (i.e., of entities' coming and ceasing to be) and qualitative change, on some ontological assumptions about modes (i.e., individual properties that ontologically depend on their bearers) and powers. Finally, I reply to (...)
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  27. Causation: Many Words, One Thing?Lorenzo Casini - 2012 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 27 (2):203-219.
    How many notions of cause are there? The causality literature is witnessing a flourishing of pluralist positions. Here I focus on a recent debate on whether interpreting causality in terms of inferential relations commits one to _semantic_ pluralism or not. I argue that inferentialism is compatible with a `weak' form of monism, where causality is envisaged as _one_, _vague_ cluster concept. I offer two arguments for this, one for vagueness, one for uniqueness. Finally, I qualify in what sense the resulting (...)
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  28. Causal Argument for the Existence of a Supreme Being.Ray Liikanen - 2017 - Vancouver B.C.: Self-published.
    This work addresses and resolved Kant's first antinomy, and brings metaphysics in line with advances in he science of big bang cosmology, introduces a new philosophical argument for the existence of a Supreme Being, and is presented in three versions, with the first version quoting Kant's most relevant remarks with regard to what he calls a science of metaphysics, and an abbreviated version without any quotes, as well as a one page abstract diagram of the argument.
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  29. Why is the Transference Theory of Causation Insuffcient? The Challenge of the Aharonov-Bohm Effect.Vincent Ardourel & Alexandre Guay - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 63:12-23.
    The transference theory reduces causation to the transmission of physical conserved quantities, like energy or momenta. Although this theory aims at applying to all felds of physics, we claim that it fails to account for a quantum electrodynamic effect, viz. the Aharonov-Bohm effect. After having argued that the Aharonov-Bohm effect is a genuine counter-example for the transference theory, we offer a new physicalist approach of causation, ontic and modal, in which this effect is embedded.
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  30. A Proposed Probabilistic Extension of the Halpern and Pearl Definition of ‘Actual Cause’.Luke Fenton-Glynn - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (4):1061-1164.
    In their article 'Causes and Explanations: A Structural-Model Approach. Part I: Causes', Joseph Halpern and Judea Pearl draw upon structural equation models to develop an attractive analysis of 'actual cause'. Their analysis is designed for the case of deterministic causation. I show that their account can be naturally extended to provide an elegant treatment of probabilistic causation.
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  31. Causal Mechanisms and the Philosophy of Causation.Ruth Groff - 2017 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 47 (3):286-305.
    Lack of clarity about underlying philosophical commitments leads to lack of clarity at other levels of analysis. Here I show that the literature on so-called “causal mechanisms” is rife with conceptual problems, stemming from insufficient rigor with respect to the metaphysics of causation.
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  32. A Note on Causation.George Paul - 1934 - Analysis 2 (1-2):18-20.
  33. The Cement of the Universe: A Study of Causation.Bernard Berofsky - 1977 - Journal of Philosophy 74 (2):103-118.
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  34. Regularities and Causality; Generalizations and Causal Explanations.Jim Bogen - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):397-420.
    Machamer, Darden, and Craver argue that causal explanations explain effects by describing the operations of the mechanisms which produce them. One of this paper’s aims is to take advantage of neglected resources of Mechanism to rethink the traditional idea that actual or counterfactual natural regularities are essential to the distinction between causal and non-causal co-occurrences, and that generalizations describing natural regularities are essential components of causal explanations. I think that causal productivity and regularity are by no means the same thing, (...)
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  35. La teoría de la explicación causal de salmon y la mecánica cuántica.José Luis Rolleri - 2007 - Critica 39 (116):3-35.
    Salmón ha afirmado que su teoría de la explicación causal no es enteramente adecuada para el dominio cuántico debido a ciertas anomalías causales como el dualismo onda/partícula y, especialmente, a las correlaciones estadísticas que surgen de experimentos tipo EPR. En este escrito se analizan las nociones causales de Salmón, en las cuales se basa su teoría probabilista de la explicación, con el fin de delimitar su alcance en ese dominio mostrando que sólo abarca procesos de transición pero no procesos de (...)
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  36. Chaos: The Reason for Structural Causation.Hans Rott - unknown
    The paper attempts to reconcile two very different approaches to the concept of causation. In the original form, it is the opposition found in Laplace between his doctrine of constant and variable causes on the one hand and his mechanistic determinism on the other. This tension was described clearly only by Maxwell who stressed the contrast between the statistical and the dynamical method (calling the latter also the historical or strictly kinetic method). A similar dichotomy surfaces in the work of (...)
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  37. The Legacy of Hume's Analysis of Causation.Jerrold Aronson - 1971 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 2 (2):135.
  38. Hume and the Problem of Causation. [REVIEW]H. P. R. - 1982 - Review of Metaphysics 35 (4):853-855.
    This volume claims to offer first a correct interpretation of Hume's theory of causation, and second, a philosophical defense of it against many recent criticisms. The first two chapters try to reconcile Hume's two definitions of "cause," and to prove that Hume was not a skeptic about induction. The authors contend that Hume's views on causation can be rationally reconstructed as a unified theory that is, they believe, faithful to his intentions, namely that causation involves regularities or constant conjunctions, and (...)
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  39. Causation and the Self: Reply to Frankel.Carlo Filice - 1987 - International Philosophical Quarterly 27 (3):329-334.
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  40. Causation and the Self: Reply to Filice.Lois Frankel - 1987 - International Philosophical Quarterly 27 (3):325-327.
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  41. The Causation Debate in Modern Philosophy, 1637-1739. [REVIEW]John M. Nicholas - 2001 - Dialogue 40 (4):824-825.
    Kenneth Clatterbaugh has written a valuable exposition and discussion of a century of upheaval in metaphysics and natural philosophy, tracing the gutting and reworking of Aristotelian causality from its uncomfortable scholastic context into a leaner and meaner instrument of secularized scientific explanation. The book examines key figures directly, evaluates prominent interpretations from the recent literature, and also puts Clatterbaugh’s own useful and definite stamp on the story. This includes the usual philosophical suspects—Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume—and their weighty philosophical interlocutors (...)
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  42. The Distinction Between Causation and Invariance and Its Implications for the Philosophical Discussion of Economic Theorizing.Szu-Ting Chen - 2003 - NTU Philosophical Review 26:53-90.
    Recently, certain philosophers have argued that an explanatory relation is a causal relation that is fundamentally about the invariance of a relation betweenvariables of interest under intervention-i.e., about a manipulable invariant relation. This manipulative theory tends to reduce a causal relation to a manipulable invariant relation. By explicating a case from contemporary econometrics, this paper argues that a manipulable invariant relation can be obtained only when the causal chain or causal structure of the targeted relation is free from disturbing influences. (...)
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  43. An Inferentialist Theory of Causation: Julian Reiss: Causation, Evidence, and Inference. New York: Routledge, 2015, 258pp, $145.00 HB. [REVIEW]Jeff Kasser - 2016 - Metascience 25 (3):447-450.
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  44. Nature and the Artificial: Aristotelian Reflections on the Operative Imperative.Edward Engelmann - 2017 - Lexington Books (Rowman and Littlefield).
    This book explores the artificial by examining transformations in the Aristotelian metaphysical understanding of the relationship between nature and techne, which leads to the “operative imperative” in early modernity. With this a reversal takes place, whereby instead of nature being model for techne as it is for Aristotle and Aquinas, techne becomes the model for nature.
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  45. Caution on the Plurality of Causation. [REVIEW]A. C. Love - 2014 - Choice 51 (9):4988.
  46. Review of C Ausation: A Realist Approach.Sydney Shoemaker - 1990 - Philosophical Review 99 (4):661.
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  47. Posidonius’s Theory of Historical Causation.David E. Hahm - 1987 - In Wolfgang Haase (ed.), Philosophie, Wissenschaften, Technik. Philosophie. De Gruyter. pp. 1325-1364.
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  48. Causality: An Empirically Informed Plea for Pluralism: Phyllis Illari and Federica Russo: Causality: Philosophical Theory Meets Scientific Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014, 310pp, £29.99 HB. [REVIEW]Christopher Austin - 2016 - Metascience 25 (2):293-296.
    Phyllis Illari & Federica Russo: Causality: Philosophical Theory Meets Scientific Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014, 310pp, £29.99 HB.
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