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Lane DesAutels
Missouri Western State University
  1. Causal Inference From Noise.Nevin Climenhaga, Lane DesAutels & Grant Ramsey - 2021 - Noûs 55 (1):152-170.
    "Correlation is not causation" is one of the mantras of the sciences—a cautionary warning especially to fields like epidemiology and pharmacology where the seduction of compelling correlations naturally leads to causal hypotheses. The standard view from the epistemology of causation is that to tell whether one correlated variable is causing the other, one needs to intervene on the system—the best sort of intervention being a trial that is both randomized and controlled. In this paper, we argue that some purely correlational (...)
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    Against Regular and Irregular Characterizations of Mechanisms.Lane DesAutels - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):914-925.
    This article addresses the question of whether we should conceive of mechanisms as productive of change in a regular way. I argue that, if mechanisms are characterized as fully regular, on the one hand, then not enough processes will count as mechanisms for them to be interesting or useful. If no appeal to regularity is made at all in their characterization, on the other hand, then mechanisms can no longer be useful for grounding prediction and supporting intervention strategies. I conclude (...)
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    Toward a Propensity Interpretation of Stochastic Mechanism for the Life Sciences.Lane DesAutels - 2015 - Synthese 192 (9):2921-2953.
    In what follows, I suggest that it makes good sense to think of the truth of the probabilistic generalizations made in the life sciences as metaphysically grounded in stochastic mechanisms in the world. To further understand these stochastic mechanisms, I take the general characterization of mechanism offered by MDC :1–25, 2000) and explore how it fits with several of the going philosophical accounts of chance: subjectivism, frequentism, Lewisian best-systems, and propensity. I argue that neither subjectivism, frequentism, nor a best-system-style interpretation (...)
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  4. Sober and Elgin on Laws of Biology: A Critique. [REVIEW]Lane DesAutels - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (2):249-256.
    In this short discussion note, I discuss whether any of the generalizations made in biology should be construed as laws. Specifically, I examine a strategy offered by Elliot Sober ( 1997 ) and supported by Mehmet Elgin ( 2006 ) to reformulate certain biological generalizations so as to eliminate their contingency, thereby allowing them to count as laws. I argue that this strategy entails a conception of laws that is unacceptable on two counts: (1) Sober and Elgin’s approach allows the (...)
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    Natural Selection and Mechanistic Regularity.Lane DesAutels - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 57:13-23.