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Causality and Explanation

Oxford University Press (1997)

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  1. Micro-level model explanation and counterfactual constraint.Samuel Schindler - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (2):1-27.
    Relationships of counterfactual dependence have played a major role in recent debates of explanation and understanding in the philosophy of science. Usually, counterfactual dependencies have been viewed as the explanantia of explanation, i.e., the things providing explanation and understanding. Sometimes, however, counterfactual dependencies are themselves the targets of explanations in science. These kinds of explanations are the focus of this paper. I argue that “micro-level model explanations” explain the particular form of the empirical regularity underlying a counterfactual dependency by representing (...)
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  • Philosophy of Science in Practice in Ecological Model Building.Luana Poliseli, Jeferson G. E. Coutinho, Blandina Viana, Federica Russo & Charbel N. El-Hani - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (4):0-0.
    This article addresses the contributions of the literature on the new mechanistic philosophy of science for the scientific practice of model building in ecology. This is reflected in a one-to-one interdisciplinary collaboration between an ecologist and a philosopher of science during science-in-the-making. We argue that the identification, reconstruction and understanding of mechanisms is context-sensitive, and for this case study mechanistic modeling did not present a normative role but a heuristic one. We expect our study to provides useful epistemic tools for (...)
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  • The Nature of Appearance in Kant’s Transcendentalism: A Seman- Tico-Cognitive Analysis.Sergey L. Katrechko - 2018 - Kantian Journal 37 (3):41-55.
  • Mechanisms in Clinical Practice: Use and Justification.Mark R. Tonelli & Jon Williamson - 2020 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 23 (1):115-124.
    While the importance of mechanisms in determining causality in medicine is currently the subject of active debate, the role of mechanistic reasoning in clinical practice has received far less attention. In this paper we look at this question in the context of the treatment of a particular individual, and argue that evidence of mechanisms is indeed key to various aspects of clinical practice, including assessing population-level research reports, diagnostic as well as therapeutic decision making, and the assessment of treatment effects. (...)
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  • Understanding Mechanisms in the Health Sciences.Raffaella Campaner - 2010 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 32 (1):5-17.
    This article focuses on the assessment of mechanistic relations with specific attention to medicine, where mechanistic models are widely employed. I first survey recent contributions in the philosophical literature on mechanistic causation, and then take issue with Federica Russo and Jon Williamson’s thesis that two types of evidence, probabilistic and mechanistic, are at stake in the health sciences. I argue instead that a distinction should be drawn between previously acquired knowledge of mechanisms and yet-to-be-discovered knowledge of mechanisms and that both (...)
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  • Explanation in Metaphysics and Bolzano’s Theory of Ground and Consequence.Arianna Betti - 2010 - Logique Et Analyse 211:281-316.
  • Unification: Not Just a Thing of Beauty.Ioannis Votsis - 2015 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 30 (1):97.
    There is a strong tendency in science to opt for simpler and more unified hypotheses. A view that has often been voiced is that such qualities, though aesthetically pleasing or beautiful, are at best pragmatic considerations in matters of choosing between rival hypotheses. This essay offers a novel conception and an associated measure of unification, both of which are manifestly more than just pragmatic considerations. The discussion commences with a brief survey of some failed attempts to conceptualise unification. It then (...)
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  • Explanation and Randomness.José Luis Rolleri - 2010 - Theoria 25 (1):59-73.
    The aim of this paper is to elaborate a notion of explanation which is applicable to stochastic processes such as quantum processes. The model-theoretic approach was adopted in order to delimit appropriate classes, by defining set-theoretical predicates, of different kinds of physical transformations that quantum systems suffer, either of transitions or of transmutations, by interaction or in a spontaneous manner. To explain a singular quantum process consists in showing that it is feasible to model it as an indeterministic process of (...)
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  • Dual Causality and the Autonomy of Biology.Walter J. Bock - 2017 - Acta Biotheoretica 65 (1):63-79.
    Ernst Mayr’s concept of dual causality in biology with the two forms of causes continues to provide an essential foundation for the philosophy of biology. They are equivalent to functional and evolutionary causes with both required for full biological explanations. The natural sciences can be classified into nomological, historical nomological and historical dual causality, the last including only biology. Because evolutionary causality is unique to biology and must be included for all complete biological explanations, biology is autonomous from the physical (...)
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  • How and Why the Brain Lays the Foundations for a Conscious Self.M. V. Butz - 2008 - Constructivist Foundations 4 (1):1-37.
    Purpose: Constructivism postulates that the perceived reality is a complex construct formed during development. Depending on the particular school, these inner constructs take on different forms and structures and affect cognition in different ways. The purpose of this article is to address the questions of how and, even more importantly, why we form such inner constructs. Approach: This article proposes that brain development is controlled by an inherent anticipatory drive, which biases learning towards the formation of forward predictive structures and (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Grounding.Michael John Clark - unknown
    The phrase ‘in virtue of’ is a mainstay of metaphysical discourse. In recent years, many philosophers have argued that we should understand this phrase, as metaphysicians use it, in terms of a concept of metaphysical dependence called ‘grounding’.This dissertation explores a range of central issues in the theory of grounding. Chapter 1 introduces the intuitive concept of grounding and discusses some compulsory questions in the theory of grounding. Chapter 2 focusses on scepticism on grounding, according to which the recent philosophical (...)
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  • Causality and Causal Modelling in the Social Sciences.Federica Russo - 2009 - Springer, Dordrecht.
    The anti-causal prophecies of last century have been disproved. Causality is neither a ‘relic of a bygone’ nor ‘another fetish of modern science’; it still occupies a large part of the current debate in philosophy and the sciences. This investigation into causal modelling presents the rationale of causality, i.e. the notion that guides causal reasoning in causal modelling. It is argued that causal models are regimented by a rationale of variation, nor of regularity neither invariance, thus breaking down the dominant (...)
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  • Unification Strategies in Cognitive Science.Marcin Miłkowski - 2016 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 48 (1):13–33.
    Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary conglomerate of various research fields and disciplines, which increases the risk of fragmentation of cognitive theories. However, while most previous work has focused on theoretical integration, some kinds of integration may turn out to be monstrous, or result in superficially lumped and unrelated bodies of knowledge. In this paper, I distinguish theoretical integration from theoretical unification, and propose some analyses of theoretical unification dimensions. Moreover, two research strategies that are supposed to lead to unification are (...)
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  • Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Science.Christopher Hitchcock (ed.) - 2004 - Blackwell.
    Showcasing original arguments for well-defined positions, as well as clear and concise statements of sophisticated philosophical views, this volume is an ...
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  • 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, I (...)
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  • A Justification of Legitimate Teleological Explanations in Physics Education.Richard Brock & Kostas Kampourakis - forthcoming - Science & Education.
    Scientific teleological explanations cite end states as causes to account for physical phenomena. Researchers in science education have noted that students can use teleological explanations in ways that are illegitimate, for example, by implying that inanimate objects are acting intentionally. Despite such cases, several examples of legitimate teleological explanation have been described, and the use of the explanatory form in several contexts in biological education has been encouraged. We argue that, in addition to those biological cases, teleological accounts that meet (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Causation.Jonathan N. D. Schaffer - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Questions about the metaphysics of causation may be usefully divided as follows. First, there are questions about the nature of the causal relata, including (1.1) whether they are in spacetime immanence), (1.2) how fine grained they are individuation), and (1.3) how many there are adicity). Second, there are questions about the metaphysics of the causal relation, including (2.1) what is the difference between causally related and causally unrelated sequences connection), (2.2) what is the difference between sequences related as cause to (...)
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  • The Unity of Science.Jordi Cat - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Applying Evidential Pluralism to the Social Sciences.Yafeng Shan & Jon Williamson - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (4):1-27.
    Evidential Pluralism maintains that in order to establish a causal claim one normally needs to establish the existence of an appropriate conditional correlation and the existence of an appropriate mechanism complex, so when assessing a causal claim one ought to consider both association studies and mechanistic studies. Hitherto, Evidential Pluralism has been applied to medicine, leading to the EBM+ programme, which recommends that evidence-based medicine should systematically evaluate mechanistic studies alongside clinical studies. This paper argues that Evidential Pluralism can also (...)
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  • Etiological Explanations: Illness Causation Theory.Olaf Dammann - 2020 - Boca Raton, FL, USA: CRC Press.
    Theory of illness causation is an important issue in all biomedical sciences, and solid etiological explanations are needed in order to develop therapeutic approaches in medicine and preventive interventions in public health. Until now, the literature about the theoretical underpinnings of illness causation research has been scarce and fragmented, and lacking a convenient summary. This interdisciplinary book provides a convenient and accessible distillation of the current status of research into this developing field, and adds a personal flavor to the discussion (...)
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  • Philosophical Investigation Series: Selected Texts on Metaphysics, Language and Mind / Série Investigação Filosófica: Textos Selecionados de Metafísica, Linguagem e Mente.Rodrigo Cid & Pedro Merlussi (eds.) - 2020 - Pelotas: Editora da UFPel / NEPFIL Online.
    Um dos grandes desafios da era da informação consiste em filtrar informações claras, rigorosas e atualizadas sobre tópicos importantes. O mesmo vale para a filosofia. Como encontrar conteúdo filosófico confiável em meio a milhares de artigos publicados diariamente na internet? Para ir ainda mais longe, como encontrar uma introdução a algum tópico com uma lista de referências bibliográficas atualizadas e que seja organizada por um especialista da área? Já que você começou a ler este livro, é provável que tenha ouvido (...)
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  • Rumos da Epistemologia V. 11.Luiz Dutra & Alexandre Meyer Luz (eds.) - 2011 - Núcleo de Epistemologia e Lógica.
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  • Computer Simulations in Science and Engineering. Concept, Practices, Perspectives.Juan Manuel Durán - 2018 - Springer.
    This book addresses key conceptual issues relating to the modern scientific and engineering use of computer simulations. It analyses a broad set of questions, from the nature of computer simulations to their epistemological power, including the many scientific, social and ethics implications of using computer simulations. The book is written in an easily accessible narrative, one that weaves together philosophical questions and scientific technicalities. It will thus appeal equally to all academic scientists, engineers, and researchers in industry interested in questions (...)
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  • Scientific Understanding.Peter Kosso - 2006 - Foundations of Science 12 (2):173-188.
    Knowledge of many facts does not amount to understanding unless one also has a sense of how the facts fit together. This aspect of coherence among scientific observations and theories is usually overlooked in summaries of scientific method, since the emphasis is on justification and verification rather than on understanding. I argue that the inter-theoretic coherence, as the hallmark of understanding, is an essential and informative component of any accurate description of science.
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  • A Glimpse of The.Stathis Psillos - 2004 - Perspectives on Science 12 (3):288-319.
    : Among the current philosophical accounts of causation two are the most prominent. The first is James Woodward's interventionist counterfactual approach; the second is the mechanistic approach advocated by Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden, Carl Craver, Jim Bogen and Stuart Glennan. Thecounterfactual approach takes it that causes make a difference to their effects, where this difference-making is cashed out in terms of actual and counterfactual interventions. The mechanistic approach takes it that two events are causally related if and only if there (...)
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  • Assimetria causal: um estudo.Túlio Roberto Xavier de Aguiar - 2003 - Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 44 (108):279-289.
    This paper examines the asymmetrical aspect of causal relation, confronting it to Humean and Neo-Humean's view. Following Hausman and Ehring, we favor a situational approach to causal asymmetry. We explore the Hausman's analysis of flagpole's example, clearing the connexions between causation and explanation. Our general diagnosis is that the Neo-humean tradition wrongly supposes that nomic relations, with the exception of minor details, exhaust the causal relations.
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  • Are Causal Structure and Intervention Judgments Inextricably Linked? A Developmental Study.Caren A. Frosch, Teresa McCormack, David A. Lagnado & Patrick Burns - 2012 - Cognitive Science 36 (2):261-285.
    The application of the formal framework of causal Bayesian Networks to children’s causal learning provides the motivation to examine the link between judgments about the causal structure of a system, and the ability to make inferences about interventions on components of the system. Three experiments examined whether children are able to make correct inferences about interventions on different causal structures. The first two experiments examined whether children’s causal structure and intervention judgments were consistent with one another. In Experiment 1, children (...)
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  • Sequence Data, Phylogenetic Inference, and Implications of Downward Causation.Kirk Fitzhugh - 2016 - Acta Biotheoretica 64 (2):133-160.
    Framing systematics as a field consistent with scientific inquiry entails that inferences of phylogenetic hypotheses have the goal of producing accounts of past causal events that explain differentially shared characters among organisms. Linking observations of characters to inferences occurs by way of why-questions implied by data matrices. Because of their form, why-questions require the use of common-cause theories. Such theories in phylogenetic inferences include natural selection and genetic drift. Selection or drift can explain ‘morphological’ characters but selection cannot be causally (...)
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  • The Problem of Granularity for Scientific Explanation.David Kinney - 2019 - Dissertation, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
    This dissertation aims to determine the optimal level of granularity for the variables used in probabilistic causal models. These causal models are useful for generating explanations in a number of scientific contexts. In Chapter 1, I argue that there is rarely a unique level of granularity at which a given phenomenon can be causally explained, thereby rejecting various causal exclusion arguments. In Chapter 2, I consider several recent proposals for measuring the explanatory power of causal explanations, and show that these (...)
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  • Unification: What is It, How Do We Reach and Why Do We Want It?Erik Weber - 1999 - Synthese 118 (3):479-499.
    This article has three aims. The first is to give a partial explication of the concept of unification. My explication will be partial because I confine myself to unification of particular events, because I do not consider events of a quantitative nature, and discuss only deductive cases. The second aim is to analyze how unification can be reached. My third aim is to show that unification is an intellectual benefit. Instead of being an intellectual benefit unification could be an intellectual (...)
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  • On Algorithm and Robustness in a Non-Standard Sense.Sam Sanders - 2013 - In Hanne Andersen, Dennis Dieks, Wenceslao González, Thomas Uebel & Gregory Wheeler (eds.), New Challenges to Philosophy of Science. Springer Verlag. pp. 99--112.
  • On Hans Reichenbach’s Inductivism.Maria Carla Galavotti - 2011 - Synthese 181 (1):95-111.
    One of the first to criticize the verifiability theory of meaning embraced by logical empiricists, Reichenbach ties the significance of scientific statements to their predictive character, which offers the condition for their testability. While identifying prediction as the task of scientific knowledge, Reichenbach assigns induction a pivotal role, and regards the theory of knowledge as a theory of prediction based on induction. Reichenbach’s inductivism is grounded on the frequency notion of probability, of which he prompts a more flexible version than (...)
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  • Coherence Measures and Inference to the Best Explanation.David Glass - 2007 - Synthese 157 (3):275-296.
    This paper considers an application of work on probabilistic measures of coherence to inference to the best explanation. Rather than considering information reported from different sources, as is usually the case when discussing coherence measures, the approach adopted here is to use a coherence measure to rank competing explanations in terms of their coherence with a piece of evidence. By adopting such an approach IBE can be made more precise and so a major objection to this mode of reasoning can (...)
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  • Specific Mechanisms Versus General Theories in the Classification of Disorders.David Trafimow - 2011 - Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences 4 (1):16-17.
    Oulis pointed out that there is a great deal of interest in specific mechanisms relating to mental disorders and that these mechanisms should play a role in classification. Although specific mechanisms are important, more attention should be given to general theories. The following example from Salmon illustrates the difference.
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  • How Are Models and Explanations Related?Yasha Rohwer & Collin Rice - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (5):1127-1148.
    Within the modeling literature, there is often an implicit assumption about the relationship between a given model and a scientific explanation. The goal of this article is to provide a unified framework with which to analyze the myriad relationships between a model and an explanation. Our framework distinguishes two fundamental kinds of relationships. The first is metaphysical, where the model is identified as an explanation or as a partial explanation. The second is epistemological, where the model produces understanding that is (...)
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  • Factive Scientific Understanding Without Accurate Representation.Collin C. Rice - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (1):81-102.
    This paper analyzes two ways idealized biological models produce factive scientific understanding. I then argue that models can provide factive scientific understanding of a phenomenon without providing an accurate representation of the features of their real-world target system. My analysis of these cases also suggests that the debate over scientific realism needs to investigate the factive scientific understanding produced by scientists’ use of idealized models rather than the accuracy of scientific models themselves.
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  • Forty Years After Laboratory Life.Joyce C. Havstad - 2020 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 12.
    There is an ongoing and robust tradition of science and technology studies scholars conducting ethnographic laboratory studies. These laboratory studies—like all ethnographies—are each conducted at a particular time, are situated in a particular place, and are about a particular culture. Presumably, this contextual specificity means that such ethnographies have limited applicability beyond the narrow slice of time, place, and culture that they each subject to examination. But we do not always or even often treat them that way. It is beyond (...)
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  • Should Causal Models Always Be Markovian? The Case of Multi-Causal Forks in Medicine.Donald Gillies & Aidan Sudbury - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (3):275-308.
    The development of causal modelling since the 1950s has been accompanied by a number of controversies, the most striking of which concerns the Markov condition. Reichenbach's conjunctive forks did satisfy the Markov condition, while Salmon's interactive forks did not. Subsequently some experts in the field have argued that adequate causal models should always satisfy the Markov condition, while others have claimed that non-Markovian causal models are needed in some cases. This paper argues for the second position by considering the multi-causal (...)
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  • Methodological Realism and Modal Resourcefulness: Out of the Web and Into the Mine.Lydia Patton - 2015 - Synthese 192 (11):3443-3462.
    Psillos, Kitcher, and Leplin have defended convergent scientific realism against the pessimistic meta-induction by arguing for the divide et impera strategy. I argue that DEI faces a problem more serious than the pessimistic meta-induction: the problem of accretion. When empirically successful theories and principles are combined, they may no longer make successful predictions or allow for accurate calculations, or the combination otherwise may be an empirical failure. The shift from classical mechanics to the new quantum theory does not reflect the (...)
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  • The Third Dogma Revisited.Petri Ylikoski - 2005 - Foundations of Science 10 (4):395–419.
    This paper is an attempt to further our understanding of mechanisms conceived of as ontologically separable from laws. What opportunities are there for a mechanistic perspective to be independent of, or even more fundamental than, a law perspective? Advocates of the mechanistic view often play with the possibility of internal and external reliability, or with the paralleling possibilities of enforcing, counteracting, redirecting, etc., the mechanisms’ power to produce To further this discussion I adopt a trope ontology. It is independent of (...)
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  • Die pragmatische vollendung Des logischen empirismus. In memoriam Carl Gustav Hempel (1905–1997).Gereon Wolters - 2000 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 31 (2):205-242.
    This paper documents the pragmatic turn in the later philosophy of C. G. Hempel.
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  • A Quantum-Theoretic Argument Against Naturalism.Bruce L. Gordon - 2011 - In Bruce L. Gordon & William A. Dembski (eds.), The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books. pp. 179-214.
    Quantum theory offers mathematical descriptions of measurable phenomena with great facility and accuracy, but it provides absolutely no understanding of why any particular quantum outcome is observed. It is the province of genuine explanations to tell us how things actually work—that is, why such descriptions hold and why such predictions are true. Quantum theory is long on the what, both mathematically and observationally, but almost completely silent on the how and the why. What is even more interesting is that, in (...)
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  • On the Epistemological Basis of Large-Scale Population Studies and Their Educational Use.Paul Smeyers - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 42 (s1):63-86.
    This paper attempts to take seriously the claim that we can look for causes in order to understand the reality we live (in), and focuses therefore primarily on 'the natural world'. It will be argued that even if we were to fully endorse the programme of looking for antecedents, a dominant driver for many educational researchers, this would still not solve the problems they commonly set out to address. It will illustrate the problem of contextualisation in using an example of (...)
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  • Interdefining Causation and Intervention.Michael Baumgartner - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (2):175-194.
    Non-reductive interventionist theories of causation and methodologies of causal reasoning embedded in that theoretical framework have become increasingly popular in recent years. This paper argues that one variant of an interventionist account of causation, viz. the one presented, for example, in Woodward (2003 ), is unsuited as a theoretical fundament of interventionist methodologies of causal reasoning, because it renders corresponding methodologies incapable of uncovering a causal structure in a finite number of steps. This finding runs counter to Woodward's own assessment (...)
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  • How to Construct a Minimal Theory of Mind.Stephen A. Butterfill & Ian A. Apperly - 2013 - Mind and Language 28 (5):606-637.
    What could someone represent that would enable her to track, at least within limits, others' perceptions, knowledge states and beliefs including false beliefs? An obvious possibility is that she might represent these very attitudes as such. It is sometimes tacitly or explicitly assumed that this is the only possible answer. However, we argue that several recent discoveries in developmental, cognitive, and comparative psychology indicate the need for other, less obvious possibilities. Our aim is to meet this need by describing the (...)
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  • Actual Causation and Simple Voting Scenarios.Jonathan Livengood - 2013 - Noûs 47 (2):316-345.
    Several prominent, contemporary theories of actual causation maintain that in order for something to count as an actual cause (in the circumstances) of some known effect, the potential cause must be a difference-maker with respect to the effect in some restricted range of circumstances. Although the theories disagree about how to restrict the range of circumstances that must be considered in deciding whether something counts as an actual cause of a known effect, the theories agree that at least some counterfactual (...)
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  • The Misunderstood Limits of Folk Science: An Illusion of Explanatory Depth.Leonid Rozenblit & Frank Keil - 2002 - Cognitive Science 26 (5):521-562.
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  • Dissecting Explanatory Power.Petri Ylikoski & Jaakko Kuorikoski - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (2):201–219.
    Comparisons of rival explanations or theories often involve vague appeals to explanatory power. In this paper, we dissect this metaphor by distinguishing between different dimensions of the goodness of an explanation: non-sensitivity, cognitive salience, precision, factual accuracy and degree of integration. These dimensions are partially independent and often come into conflict. Our main contribution is to go beyond simple stipulation or description by explicating why these factors are taken to be explanatory virtues. We accomplish this by using the contrastive-counterfactual approach (...)
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  • The Application of Evidence-Based Medicine Methodologies in Sports Science: Problems and Solutions.William Levack-Payne - 2022 - Dissertation, University of Kent
    This thesis analyses the use of 'Evidence-Based' methodologies of evidence assessment and intervention and policy design from medicine, and their use in sport and exercise science. It argues that problems exist with the application of Evidence-Based methodologies in sports science, meaning that the quality of evidence used to inform decision-making is lower than is often assumed. This thesis also offers realistic solutions to these problems, broadly arguing for the importance of taking evidence from mechanistic studies seriously, in addition to evidence (...)
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  • Mechanistic Theories of Causality Part I.Jon Williamson - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (6):421-432.
    Part I of this paper introduces a range of mechanistic theories of causality, including process theories and the complex-systems theories, and some of the problems they face. Part II argues that while there is a decisive case against a purely mechanistic analysis, a viable theory of causality must incorporate mechanisms as an ingredient, and describes one way of providing an analysis of causality which reaps the rewards of the mechanistic approach without succumbing to its pitfalls.
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