On the metaphysics of probabilistic causation: Lessons from social epidemiology

Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1413-1423 (2003)
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I argue that the orthodox account of probabilistic causation, on which probabilistic causes determine the probability of their effects, is inconsistent with certain ontological assumptions implicit in scientific practice. In particular, scientists recognize the possibility that properties of populations can cause the behavior of members of the populations. Such emergent population‐level causation is metaphysically impossible on the orthodoxy.



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Bruce Glymour
Kansas State University

Citations of this work

Dispositional versus epistemic causality.Jon Williamson - 2006 - Minds and Machines 16 (3):259-276.
The social epidemiologic concept of fundamental cause.Andrew Ward - 2007 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 28 (6):465-485.

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References found in this work

A Probabilistic Theory of Causality.P. Suppes - 1973 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 24 (4):409-410.
Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement.Tim Maudlin & Nancy Cartwright - 1993 - Journal of Philosophy 90 (11):599.
The Chances of Explanation.Paul Humphreys - 1994 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 45 (1):353-374.
Capacities and abstractions.Nancy Cartwright - 1989 - In Philip Kitcher & Wesley Salmon (eds.), Scientific Explanation. Univ of Minnesota Pr. pp. 13--349.

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