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  1. A Bayesian Account of Establishing.Jon Williamson - unknown
    When a proposition is established, it can be taken as evidence for other propositions. Can the Bayesian theory of rational belief and action provide an account of establishing? I argue that it can, but only if the Bayesian is willing to endorse objective constraints on both probabilities and utilities, and willing to deny that it is rationally permissible to defer wholesale to expert opinion. I develop a new account of deference that accommodates this latter requirement.
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  • The Direction of Time.Hans Reichenbach - 1956 - Dover Publications.
    The final work of a distinguished physicist, this remarkable volume examines the emotive significance of time, the time order of mechanics, the time direction of thermodynamics and microstatistics, the time direction of macrostatistics, and the time of quantum physics. Coherent discussions include accounts of analytic methods of scientific philosophy in the investigation of probability, quantum mechanics, the theory of relativity, and causality. "[Reichenbach’s] best by a good deal."—Physics Today. 1971 ed.
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  • Analytical Sociology and Social Mechanisms.Pierre Demeulenaere (ed.) - 2011 - Cambridge University Press.
    Discusses the importance and development of analytical sociology, emphasizing the centrality of mechanisms in explaining social life.
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  • Across the Boundaries: Extrapolation in Biology and Social Science.Daniel Steel (ed.) - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    Inferences like these are known as extrapolations.
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  • Causality and Explanation.Wesley C. Salmon - 1997 - Oxford University Press.
    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 (...)
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  • Evaluating Evidence of Mechanisms in Medicine.Veli-Pekka Parkkinen, Christian Wallmann, Michael Wilde, Brendan Clarke, Phyllis Illari, Michael P. Kelly, Charles Norell, Federica Russo, Beth Shaw & Jon Williamson - 2018 - Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
    The use of evidence in medicine is something we should continuously seek to improve. This book seeks to develop our understanding of evidence of mechanism in evaluating evidence in medicine, public health, and social care; and also offers tools to help implement improved assessment of evidence of mechanism in practice. In this way, the book offers a bridge between more theoretical and conceptual insights and worries about evidence of mechanism and practical means to fit the results into evidence assessment procedures.
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  • Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
    The concept of mechanism is analyzed in terms of entities and activities, organized such that they are productive of regular changes. Examples show how mechanisms work in neurobiology and molecular biology. Thinking in terms of mechanisms provides a new framework for addressing many traditional philosophical issues: causality, laws, explanation, reduction, and scientific change.
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  • Causal Pluralism Versus Epistemic Causality.Jon Williamson - 2006 - Philosophica 77 (1):69-96.
    It is tempting to analyse causality in terms of just one of the indicators of causal relationships, e.g., mechanisms, probabilistic dependencies or independencies, counterfactual conditionals or agency considerations. While such an analysis will surely shed light on some aspect of our concept of cause, it will fail to capture the whole, rather multifarious, notion. So one might instead plump for pluralism: a different analysis for a different occasion. But we do not seem to have lots of different concepts of cause (...)
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  • Evidential Proximity, Independence, and the Evaluation of Carcinogenicity.Jon Williamson - 2019 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 25 (6):955-961.
    This paper analyses the methods of the International Agency for Research on Cancer for evaluating the carcinogenicity of various agents. I identify two fundamental evidential principles that underpin these methods, which I call Evidential Proximity and Independence. I then show, by considering the 2018 evaluation of the carcinogenicity of styrene and styrene‐7,8‐oxide, that these principles have been implemented in a way that can lead to inconsistency. I suggest a way to resolve this problem: admit a general exception to Independence and (...)
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  • The Feasibility and Malleability of EBM+.Jon Williamson - 2021 - Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 36 (2):191-209.
    The EBM+ programme is an attempt to improve the way in which present-day evidence-based medicine assesses causal claims: according to EBM+, mechanistic studies should be scrutinised alongside association studies. This paper addresses two worries about EBM+: that it is not feasible in practice, and that it is too malleable, i.e., its results depend on subjective choices that need to be made in order to implement the procedure. Several responses to these two worries are considered and evaluated. The paper also discusses (...)
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  • Calibration for Epistemic Causality.Jon Williamson - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (4):941-960.
    The epistemic theory of causality is analogous to epistemic theories of probability. Most proponents of epistemic probability would argue that one’s degrees of belief should be calibrated to chances, insofar as one has evidence of chances. The question arises as to whether causal beliefs should satisfy an analogous calibration norm. In this paper, I formulate a particular version of a norm requiring calibration to chances and argue that this norm is the most fundamental evidential norm for epistemic probability. I then (...)
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  • What is Mechanistic Evidence, and Why Do We Need It for Evidence-Based Policy?Caterina Marchionni & Samuli Reijula - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 73:54-63.
    It has recently been argued that successful evidence-based policy should rely on two kinds of evidence: statistical and mechanistic. The former is held to be evidence that a policy brings about the desired outcome, and the latter concerns how it does so. Although agreeing with the spirit of this proposal, we argue that the underlying conception of mechanistic evidence as evidence that is different in kind from correlational, difference-making or statistical evidence, does not correctly capture the role that information about (...)
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  • How Can Causal Explanations Explain?Jon Williamson - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):257-275.
    The mechanistic and causal accounts of explanation are often conflated to yield a ‘causal-mechanical’ account. This paper prizes them apart and asks: if the mechanistic account is correct, how can causal explanations be explanatory? The answer to this question varies according to how causality itself is understood. It is argued that difference-making, mechanistic, dualist and inferentialist accounts of causality all struggle to yield explanatory causal explanations, but that an epistemic account of causality is more promising in this regard.
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  • Causation in the Social Sciences: Evidence, Inference, and Purpose.Julian Reiss - 2009 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (1):20-40.
    All univocal analyses of causation face counterexamples. An attractive response to this situation is to become a pluralist about causal relationships. "Causal pluralism" is itself, however, a pluralistic notion. In this article, I argue in favor of pluralism about concepts of cause in the social sciences. The article will show that evidence for, inference from, and the purpose of causal claims are very closely linked. Key Words: causation • pluralism • evidence • methodology.
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  • Venetian Sea Levels, British Bread Prices, and the Principle of the Common Cause.Elliott Sober - 2001 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (2):331-346.
    When two causally independent processes each have a quantity that increases monotonically (either deterministically or in probabilistic expectation), the two quantities will be correlated, thus providing a counterexample to Reichenbach's principle of the common cause. Several philosophers have denied this, but I argue that their efforts to save the principle are unsuccessful. Still, one salvage attempt does suggest a weaker principle that avoids the initial counterexample. However, even this weakened principle is mistaken, as can be seen by exploring the concepts (...)
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  • Causal Models and Evidential Pluralism in Econometrics.Alessio Moneta & Federica Russo - 2014 - Journal of Economic Methodology 21 (1):54-76.
    Social research, from economics to demography and epidemiology, makes extensive use of statistical models in order to establish causal relations. The question arises as to what guarantees the causal interpretation of such models. In this paper we focus on econometrics and advance the view that causal models are ‘augmented’ statistical models that incorporate important causal information which contributes to their causal interpretation. The primary objective of this paper is to argue that causal claims are established on the basis of a (...)
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  • Establishing Causal Claims in Medicine.Jon Williamson - 2019 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 32 (1):33-61.
    Russo and Williamson put forward the following thesis: in order to establish a causal claim in medicine, one normally needs to establish both that the putative cause and putative effect are appropriately correlated and that there is some underlying mechanism that can account for this correlation. I argue that, although the Russo-Williamson thesis conflicts with the tenets of present-day evidence-based medicine, it offers a better causal epistemology than that provided by present-day EBM because it better explains two key aspects of (...)
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  • How Probabilistic Causation Can Account for the Use of Mechanistic Evidence.Erik Weber - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (3):277-295.
    In a recent article in this journal, Federica Russo and Jon Williamson argue that an analysis of causality in terms of probabilistic relationships does not do justice to the use of mechanistic evidence to support causal claims. I will present Ronald Giere's theory of probabilistic causation, and show that it can account for the use of mechanistic evidence (both in the health sciences—on which Russo and Williamson focus—and elsewhere). I also review some other probabilistic theories of causation (of Suppes, Eells, (...)
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  • What is a Mechanism? Thinking About Mechanisms Across the Sciences.Phyllis Illari & Jon Williamson - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):119-135.
    After a decade of intense debate about mechanisms, there is still no consensus characterization. In this paper we argue for a characterization that applies widely to mechanisms across the sciences. We examine and defend our disagreements with the major current contenders for characterizations of mechanisms. Ultimately, we indicate that the major contenders can all sign up to our characterization.
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  • The Feasibility and Malleability of EBM+.Jon Williamson - 2021 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 36 (2):191-209.
    The EBM+ programme is an attempt to improve the way in which present-day evidence-based medicine assesses causal claims: according to EBM+, mechanistic studies should be scrutinised alongside association studies. This paper addresses two worries about EBM+: that it is not feasible in practice, and that it is too malleable, i.e., its results depend on subjective choices that need to be made in order to implement the procedure. Several responses to these two worries are considered and evaluated. The paper also discusses (...)
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  • In Defense of Methodological Mechanism: The Case of Apoptosis.Stavros Ioannidis & Stathis Psillos - 2017 - Axiomathes 27 (6):601-619.
    This paper advances the thesis of methodological mechanism, the claim that to be committed to mechanism is to adopt a certain methodological postulate, i.e. to look for causal pathways for the phenomena of interest. We argue that methodological mechanism incorporates a minimal account of understanding mechanisms, according to which a mechanism just is a causal pathway described in the language of theory. In order to argue for this position we discuss a central example of a biological mechanism, the mechanism of (...)
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  • Establishing the Teratogenicity of Zika and Evaluating Causal Criteria.Jon Williamson - forthcoming - Synthese 198 (Suppl 10):2505-2518.
    The teratogenicity of the Zika virus was considered established in 2016, and is an interesting case because three different sets of causal criteria were used to assess teratogenicity. This paper appeals to the thesis of Russo and Williamson :157–170, 2007) to devise an epistemological framework that can be used to compare and evaluate sets of causal criteria. The framework can also be used to decide when enough criteria are satisfied to establish causality. Arguably, the three sets of causal criteria considered (...)
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  • Interpreting Causality in the Health Sciences.Federica Russo & Jon Williamson - 2007 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (2):157 – 170.
    We argue that the health sciences make causal claims on the basis of evidence both of physical mechanisms, and of probabilistic dependencies. Consequently, an analysis of causality solely in terms of physical mechanisms or solely in terms of probabilistic relationships, does not do justice to the causal claims of these sciences. Yet there seems to be a single relation of cause in these sciences - pluralism about causality will not do either. Instead, we maintain, the health sciences require a theory (...)
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  • Causal Mechanisms in the Social Sciences.Peter Hedström & Petri Ylikoski - 2010 - Annual Review of Sociology 36:49–67.
    During the past decade, social mechanisms and mechanism-based ex- planations have received considerable attention in the social sciences as well as in the philosophy of science. This article critically reviews the most important philosophical and social science contributions to the mechanism approach. The first part discusses the idea of mechanism- based explanation from the point of view of philosophy of science and relates it to causation and to the covering-law account of explanation. The second part focuses on how the idea (...)
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  • The Direction of Time.HANS REICHENBACH - 1956 - Philosophy 34 (128):65-66.
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  • Reconstructing the Mixed Mechanisms of Health: The Role of Bio- and Socio-Markers.Virginia Ghiara & Federica Russo - unknown
    It is widely agreed that social factors are related to health outcomes: much research served to establish correlations between classes of social factors on the one hand and classes of disease on the other hand. However, why and how social factors are an active part in the aetiology of disease development is something that is gaining attention only recently in the health sciences and in the medical humanities. In this paper, we advance the view that, just as bio-markers help trace (...)
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  • The Russo–Williamson Theses in the Social Sciences: Causal Inference Drawing on Two Types of Evidence.François Claveau - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (4):806-813.
  • Process Tracing and Causal Inference.Andrew Bennett - unknown
    How should we judge competing explanatory claims in social science research? How can we make inferences about which alternative explanations are more convincing, in what ways, and to what degree? Case study methods—especially methods of within-case analysis such as process tracing— are an indispensable part of the answer to these questions. This chapter offers an overview of process tracing as a tool for causal inference, focusing on the study of international relations, an area rich with examples of this approach. In (...)
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  • The Russo–Williamson Theses in the Social Sciences: Causal Inference Drawing on Two Types of Evidence.François Claveau - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (4):806-813.
    This article examines two theses formulated by Russo and Williamson in their study of causal inference in the health sciences. The two theses are assessed against evidence from a specific case in the social sciences, i.e., research on the institutional determinants of the aggregate unemployment rate. The first Russo–Williamson Thesis is that a causal claim can only be established when it is jointly supported by difference-making and mechanistic evidence. This thesis is shown not to hold. While researchers in my case (...)
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  • States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China.Theda Skocpol - 1981 - Science and Society 45 (1):114-117.
     
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