Results for 'causal explanation'

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  1. Contrastive Causal Explanation and the Explanatoriness of Deterministic and Probabilistic Hypotheses Theories.Elliott Sober - forthcoming - European Journal for Philosophy of Science.
    Carl Hempel (1965) argued that probabilistic hypotheses are limited in what they can explain. He contended that a hypothesis cannot explain why E is true if the hypothesis says that E has a probability less than 0.5. Wesley Salmon (1971, 1984, 1990, 1998) and Richard Jeffrey (1969) argued to the contrary, contending that P can explain why E is true even when P says that E’s probability is very low. This debate concerned noncontrastive explananda. Here, a view of contrastive (...) explanation is described and defended. It provides a new limit on what probabilistic hypotheses can explain; the limitation is that P cannot explain why E is true rather than A if P assign E a probability that is less than or equal to the probability that P assigns to A. The view entails that a true deterministic theory and a true probabilistic theory that apply to the same explanandum partition are such that the deterministic theory explains all the true contrastive propositions constructable from that partition, whereas the probabilistic theory often fails to do so. (shrink)
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  2.  24
    Because Without Cause: Non-Causal Explanations in Science and Mathematics.Marc Lange - 2016 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press USA.
    Not all scientific explanations work by describing causal connections between events or the world's overall causal structure. In addition, mathematicians regard some proofs as explaining why the theorems being proved do in fact hold. This book proposes new philosophical accounts of many kinds of non-causal explanations in science and mathematics.
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  3. Causal Explanation.David Lewis - 1986 - In Philosophical Papers Vol. Ii. Oxford University Press. pp. 214-240.
  4. Misconceived Causal Explanations for Emergent Processes.Michelene T. H. Chi, Rod D. Roscoe, James D. Slotta, Marguerite Roy & Catherine C. Chase - 2012 - Cognitive Science 36 (1):1-61.
    Studies exploring how students learn and understand science processes such as diffusion and natural selection typically find that students provide misconceived explanations of how the patterns of such processes arise (such as why giraffes’ necks get longer over generations, or how ink dropped into water appears to “flow”). Instead of explaining the patterns of these processes as emerging from the collective interactions of all the agents (e.g., both the water and the ink molecules), students often explain the pattern as being (...)
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  5. Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    Woodward's long awaited book is an attempt to construct a comprehensive account of causation explanation that applies to a wide variety of causal and explanatory claims in different areas of science and everyday life. The book engages some of the relevant literature from other disciplines, as Woodward weaves together examples, counterexamples, criticisms, defenses, objections, and replies into a convincing defense of the core of his theory, which is that we can analyze causation by appeal to the notion of (...)
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  6.  69
    Causal Explanation Beyond the Gene: Manipulation and Causality in Epigenetics.Jan Baedke - 2012 - Theoria 27 (2):153-174.
    _This paper deals with the interrelationship between causal explanation and methodology in a relatively young discipline in biology: epigenetics. Based on cases from molecular and ecological epigenetics, I show that James Woodward’s interventionist account of causation captures essential features about how epigeneticists using highly diverse methods, i.e. laboratory experiments and purely observational studies, think about causal explanation. I argue that interventionism thus qualifies as a useful unifying explanatory approach when it comes to cross-methodological research efforts: It (...)
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  7. Some Varieties of Non-Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2018 - In Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi (eds.), Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter explores the possibility of weakening the criteria for causal explanation in Making Things Happen to yield various forms of non-causal explanation. These include the following: retaining the idea that explanations must answer what if things had been different questions but dropping the requirement the answers to such questions must take the form of claims about what would happen under interventions. Retaining the w- question requirement but allowing generalizations that hold for mathematical or conceptual reasons (...)
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  8.  40
    Understanding Interests and Causal Explanation.Petri Ylikoski - 2001 - Dissertation, University of Helsinki
    This work consists of two parts. Part I will be a contribution to a philo- sophical discussion of the nature of causal explanation. It will present my contrastive counterfactual theory of causal explanation and show how it can be used to deal with a number of problems facing theories of causal explanation. Part II is a contribution to a discussion of the na- ture of interest explanation in social studies of science. The aim (...)
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  9. Causal Explanation and Scientific Realism.Christopher Hitchcock - 1992 - Erkenntnis 37 (2):151 - 178.
    It is widely believed that many of the competing accounts of scientific explanation have ramifications which are relevant to the scientific realism debate. I claim that the two issues are orthogonal. For definiteness, I consider Cartwright's argument that causal explanations secure belief in theoretical entities. In Section I, van Fraassen's anti-realism is reviewed; I argue that this anti-realism is, prima facie, consistent with a causal account of explanation. Section II reviews Cartwright's arguments. In Section III, it (...)
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  10.  65
    Causal Explanation and the Periodic Table.Lauren N. Ross - forthcoming - Synthese 198 (1):79-103.
    The periodic table represents and organizes all known chemical elements on the basis of their properties. While the importance of this table in chemistry is uncontroversial, the role that it plays in scientific reasoning remains heavily disputed. Many philosophers deny the explanatory role of the table and insist that it is “merely” classificatory The structure of scientific theories, University of Illinois Press, Illinois, 1977; Scerri in Erkenntnis 47:229–243, 1997). In particular, it has been claimed that the table does not figure (...)
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  11. Causal Explanation and the Reality of Natural Component Forces.Lewis Creary - 1981 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 62 (2):148-157.
  12. Non-Causal Explanations in Physics.Juha Saatsi - 2021 - In Eleanor Knox & Alastair Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics. Routledge.
  13.  66
    Causal Explanation and Fact Mutability in Counterfactual Reasoning.Morteza Dehghani, Rumen Iliev & Stefan Kaufmann - 2012 - Mind and Language 27 (1):55-85.
    Recent work on the interpretation of counterfactual conditionals has paid much attention to the role of causal independencies. One influential idea from the theory of Causal Bayesian Networks is that counterfactual assumptions are made by intervention on variables, leaving all of their causal non-descendants unaffected. But intervention is not applicable across the board. For instance, backtracking counterfactuals, which involve reasoning from effects to causes, cannot proceed by intervention in the strict sense, for otherwise they would be equivalent (...)
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  14.  2
    Explanatory Asymmetry in Non-Causal Explanation.Andrew Wayne - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-17.
    The problem of explanatory asymmetry remains a serious challenge for non-causal accounts of explanation. This paper proposes a novel solution, and it does so by appealing to the theoretical context in which an explanation is offered. The paper develops the problem of explanatory asymmetry for non-causal dependency accounts of explanation, focusing specifically on Alexander Reutlinger’s Counterfactual Theory of Explanation and recent work by Marc Lange and Lina Jansson. It defends the idea that nomological possibility (...)
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  15. Are There Non-Causal Explanations (of Particular Events)?Brdford Skow - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (3):axs047.
    Philosophers have proposed many alleged examples of non-causal explanations of particular events. I discuss several well-known examples and argue that they fail to be non-causal. 1 Questions2 Preliminaries3 Explanations That Cite Causally Inert Entities4 Explanations That Merely Cite Laws I5 Stellar Collapse6 Explanations That Merely Cite Laws II7 A Final Example8 Conclusion.
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  16. Abstract Versus Causal Explanations?Reutlinger Alexander & Andersen Holly - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (2):129-146.
    In the recent literature on causal and non-causal scientific explanations, there is an intuitive assumption according to which an explanation is non-causal by virtue of being abstract. In this context, to be ‘abstract’ means that the explanans in question leaves out many or almost all causal microphysical details of the target system. After motivating this assumption, we argue that the abstractness assumption, in placing the abstract and the causal character of an explanation in (...)
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  17. Causal Explanations in Classical and Statistical Thermodynamics.Jeffrey S. Wicken - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (1):65-77.
    This paper considers the problem of causal explanation in classical and statistical thermodynamics. It is argued that the irreversibility of macroscopic processes is explained in both formulations of thermodynamics in a teleological way that appeals to entropic or probabilistic consequences rather than to efficient-causal, antecedental conditions. This explanatory structure of thermodynamics is not taken to imply a teleological orientation to macroscopic processes themselves, but to reflect simply the epistemological limitations of this science, wherein consequences of heat-work asymmetries (...)
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  18. Omissions and Causal Explanations.Achille C. Varzi - 2007 - In Francesca Castellani & Josef Quitterer (eds.), Agency and Causation in the Human Sciences. Mentis Verlag. pp. 155–167.
    In previous work I have argued that talk about negative events should not be taken at face value: typically, what we are inclined to think of as a negative event (John’s failure to go jogging) is just an ordinary, positive event (his going to the movie instead); it is a positive event under a negative description. Here I consider more closely the difficulties that arise in those cases where no positive event seems available to do the job, as with putative (...)
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  19.  16
    The Chances of Explanation: Causal Explanation in the Social, Medical, and Physical Sciences.Paul Humphreys - 1992 - Princeton Up.
    This book provides a post-positivist theory of deterministic and probabilistic causality that supports both quantitative and qualitative explanations. Features of particular interest include the ability to provide true explanations in contexts where our knowledge is incomplete, a systematic interpretation of causal modeling techniques in the social sciences, and a direct realist view of causal relations that is compatible with a liberal empiricism. The book should be of wide interest to both philosophers and scientists. Originally published in 1989. The (...)
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  20.  7
    Causal Explanation: Recursive Decompositions and Mechanisms.Michel Mouchart & Federica Russo - 2011 - In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press.
  21. Causal Explanations: Are They Possible in Physics?Andrés Rivadulla - 2019 - In Mario Augusto Bunge, Michael R. Matthews, Guillermo M. Denegri, Eduardo L. Ortiz, Heinz W. Droste, Alberto Cordero, Pierre Deleporte, María Manzano, Manuel Crescencio Moreno, Dominique Raynaud, Íñigo Ongay de Felipe, Nicholas Rescher, Richard T. W. Arthur, Rögnvaldur D. Ingthorsson, Evandro Agazzi, Ingvar Johansson, Joseph Agassi, Nimrod Bar-Am, Alberto Cupani, Gustavo E. Romero, Andrés Rivadulla, Art Hobson, Olival Freire Junior, Peter Slezak, Ignacio Morgado-Bernal, Marta Crivos, Leonardo Ivarola, Andreas Pickel, Russell Blackford, Michael Kary, A. Z. Obiedat, Carolina I. García Curilaf, Rafael González del Solar, Luis Marone, Javier Lopez de Casenave, Francisco Yannarella, Mauro A. E. Chaparro, José Geiser Villavicencio- Pulido, Martín Orensanz, Jean-Pierre Marquis, Reinhard Kahle, Ibrahim A. Halloun, José María Gil, Omar Ahmad, Byron Kaldis, Marc Silberstein, Carolina I. García Curilaf, Rafael González del Solar, Javier Lopez de Casenave, Íñigo Ongay de Felipe & Villavicencio-Pulid (eds.), Mario Bunge: A Centenary Festschrift. Springer Verlag. pp. 303-328.
    The existence of causal explanations in science has been an issue of interest in Western philosophy from its very beginnings. That is the reason this work, following an idea of Mario Bunge, makes a historical review of this matter. The modern treatment of this subject takes place since the postulation by Popper and Hempel of the D-N model of scientific explanation, whose viability is scrutinized here from different points of view in the current philosophy of science. The main (...)
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  22.  63
    Are There Non-Causal Explanations (of Particular Events)?Bradford Skow - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3):445-467.
    Philosophers have proposed many alleged examples of non-causal explana- tions of particular events. I discuss several well-known examples and argue that they fail to be non-causal.
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  23.  61
    Causal Explanation Beyond the Gene.Jan Baedke - 2012 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 27 (2):153-174.
    This paper deals with the interrelationship between causal explanation and methodology in a relatively young discipline in biology: epigenetics. Based on cases from molecular and ecological epigenetics, I show that James Woodward’s interventionist account of causation captures essential features about how epigeneticists using highly diverse methods, i.e. laboratory experiments and purely observational studies, think about causal explanation. I argue that interventionism thus qualifies as a useful unifying explanatory approach when it comes to cross-methodological research efforts. It (...)
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  24.  61
    Quantum Causal Explanation: Or, Why Birds Fly South.Sally Shrapnel - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (3):409-423.
    It is widely held that it is difficult, if not impossible, to apply causal theory to the domain of quantum mechanics. However, there are several recent scientific explanations that appeal crucially to quantum processes, and which are most naturally construed as causal explanations. They come from two relatively new fields: quantum biology and quantum technology. We focus on two examples, the explanation for the optical interferometer LIGO and the explanation for the avian magneto-compass. We analyse the (...)
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  25.  95
    A Theory of Singular Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 1984 - Erkenntnis 21 (3):231 - 262.
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  26. Because Without Cause: Non-Causal Explanations in Science and Mathematics. [REVIEW]Mark Povich & Carl F. Craver - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (3):422-426.
    Lange’s collection of expanded, mostly previously published essays, packed with numerous, beautiful examples of putatively non-causal explanations from biology, physics, and mathematics, challenges the increasingly ossified causal consensus about scientific explanation, and, in so doing, launches a new field of philosophic investigation. However, those who embraced causal monism about explanation have done so because appeal to causal factors sorts good from bad scientific explanations and because the explanatory force of good explanations seems to derive (...)
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  27. Is There A Monist Theory of Causal and Non-Causal Explanations? The Counterfactual Theory of Scientific Explanation.Alexander Reutlinger - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (5):733-745.
    The goal of this paper is to develop a counterfactual theory of explanation. The CTE provides a monist framework for causal and non-causal explanations, according to which both causal and non-causal explanations are explanatory by virtue of revealing counterfactual dependencies between the explanandum and the explanans. I argue that the CTE is applicable to two paradigmatic examples of non-causal explanations: Euler’s explanation and renormalization group explanations of universality.
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  28.  16
    Causal Explanations as a Risk Factor for Depression: Theory and Evidence.Christopher Peterson & Martin E. Seligman - 1984 - Psychological Review 91 (3):347-374.
  29.  32
    Distinguishing Topological and Causal Explanation.Lauren N. Ross - 2021 - Synthese 198 (10):9803-9820.
    Recent philosophical work has explored the distinction between causal and non-causal forms of explanation. In this literature, topological explanation is viewed as a clear example of the non-causal variety–it is claimed that topology lacks temporal information, which is necessary for causal structure. This paper explores the distinction between topological and causal forms of explanation and argues that this distinction is not as clear cut as the literature suggests. One reason for this is (...)
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  30. Counterfactuals and Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2002 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (1):41 – 72.
    This article defends the use of interventionist counterfactuals to elucidate causal and explanatory claims against criticisms advanced by James Bogen and Peter Machamer. Against Bogen, I argue that counterfactual claims concerning what would happen under interventions are meaningful and have determinate truth values, even in a deterministic world. I also argue, against both Machamer and Bogen, that we need to appeal to counterfactuals to capture the notions like causal relevance and causal mechanism. Contrary to what both authors (...)
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  31.  96
    Economics, Agency, and Causal Explanation.William Child - 2020 - In Peter Róna & László Zsolnai (eds.), Agency and Causal Explanation in Economics. Springer Verlag. pp. 53-67.
    The paper considers three questions. First, what is the connection between economics and agency? It is argued that causation and explanation in economics fundamentally depend on agency. So a philosophical understanding of economic explanation must be sensitive to an understanding of agency. Second, what is the connection between agency and causation? A causal view of agency-involving explanation is defended against a number of arguments from the resurgent noncausalist tradition in the literature on agency and action-explanation. (...)
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  32.  45
    Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations.Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi (eds.) - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    Explanations are very important to us in many contexts: in science, mathematics, philosophy, and also in everyday and juridical contexts. But what is an explanation? In the philosophical study of explanation, there is long-standing, influential tradition that links explanation intimately to causation: we often explain by providing accurate information about the causes of the phenomenon to be explained. Such causal accounts have been the received view of the nature of explanation, particularly in philosophy of science, (...)
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  33.  76
    Causal Explanation in Psychiatry.Tuomas K. Pernu - 2019 - In Şerife Tekin & Robyn Bluhm (eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Philosophy of Psychiatry. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
  34.  93
    Laboratory Models, Causal Explanation and Group Selection.James R. Griesemer & Michael J. Wade - 1988 - Biology and Philosophy 3 (1):67-96.
    We develop an account of laboratory models, which have been central to the group selection controversy. We compare arguments for group selection in nature with Darwin's arguments for natural selection to argue that laboratory models provide important grounds for causal claims about selection. Biologists get information about causes and cause-effect relationships in the laboratory because of the special role their own causal agency plays there. They can also get information about patterns of effects and antecedent conditions in nature. (...)
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  35. Causal Explanations of Behavior.Merrilee H. Salmon - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (4):720-738.
    Most discussions of causal explanations of behavior focus on the problem of whether it makes sense to regard reasons as causes of human behavior, whether there can be laws connecting reasons with behavior, and the like. This essay discusses explanations of human behavior that do not appeal to reasons. Such explanations can be found in several areas of the social sciences. Moreover, these explanations are both causal and non-reductionist. Historical linguists, for example, offer causal explanations of changes (...)
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  36.  16
    Causal Explanations in Mental Event Contexts.Robert Wyllie - 1980 - Philosophical Papers 9 (May):15-31.
  37. Causal Explanation and Manipulation.Stathis Psillos - 2007 - In Johannes Persson & Petri Ylikoski (eds.), Rethinking Explanation. Springer. pp. 93--107.
  38.  56
    Causal Explanation in the Social Sciences.Daniel Little - 1996 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 34 (S1):31-56.
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  39.  79
    Commonsense Causal Explanation in a Legal Domain.Rinke Hoekstra & Joost Breuker - 2007 - Artificial Intelligence and Law 15 (3):281-299.
    In this paper, we present an approach to commonsense causal explanation of stories that can be used for automatically determining the liable party in legal case descriptions. The approach is based on, a core ontology for law that takes a commonsense perspective. Aside from our thesis that in the legal domain many terms still have a strong commonsense flavour, the descriptions of events in legal cases, as e.g. presented at judicial trials, are cast in commonsense terms as well. (...)
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  40. Forms of Causal Explanation.Erik Weber, Jeroen Van Bouwel & Robrecht Vanderbeeken - 2005 - Foundations of Science 10 (4):437-454.
    In the literature on scientific explanation two types of pluralism are very common. The first concerns the distinction between explanations of singular facts and explanations of laws: there is a consensus that they have a different structure. The second concerns the distinction between causal explanations and uni.cation explanations: most people agree that both are useful and that their structure is different. In this article we argue for pluralism within the area of causal explanations: we claim that the (...)
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  41. Models, Robustness, and Non-Causal Explanation: A Foray Into Cognitive Science and Biology.Elizabeth Irvine - 2015 - Synthese 192 (12):3943-3959.
    This paper is aimed at identifying how a model’s explanatory power is constructed and identified, particularly in the practice of template-based modeling (Humphreys, Philos Sci 69:1–11, 2002; Extending ourselves: computational science, empiricism, and scientific method, 2004), and what kinds of explanations models constructed in this way can provide. In particular, this paper offers an account of non-causal structural explanation that forms an alternative to causal–mechanical accounts of model explanation that are currently popular in philosophy of biology (...)
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  42.  66
    Nonseparable Processes and Causal Explanation.Richard Healey - 1994 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25 (3):337-374.
    If physical reality is nonseparable, as quantum mechanics suggests, then it may contain processes of a quite novel kind. Such nonseparable processes could connect space-like separated events without violating relativity theory or any defensible locality condition. Appeal to nonseparable processes could ground theoretical explanations of such otherwise puzzling phenomena as the two-slit experiment, and EPR- type correlations. We find such phenomena puzzling because they threaten cherished conceptions of how causes operate to produce their effects. But nonseparable processes offer us an (...)
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  43. Genetic Traits and Causal Explanation.Robert Northcott - 2012 - In Kathryn Plaisance & Thomas Reydon (eds.), Philosophy of Behavioral Biology. Springer. pp. 65-82.
    I use a contrastive theory of causal explanation to analyze the notion of a genetic trait. The resulting definition is relational, an implication of which is that no trait is genetic always and everywhere. Rather, every trait may be either genetic or non-genetic, depending on explanatory context. I also outline some other advantages of connecting the debate to the wider causation literature, including how that yields us an account of the distinction between genetic traits and genetic dispositions.
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  44.  93
    Making Things Happen. A Theory of Causal Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.
  45.  29
    Causal Explanation and the Vocabulary of Action.George Sher - 1973 - Mind 82 (325):22-30.
    It seems plausible to suppose that (a) the vocabulary of action is distinct from and irreducible to that of mere movement, And (b) the causal laws of the natural sciences are couched solely in terms of the latter vocabulary. From these two suppositions, The falsehood of determinism has sometimes been said to follow. I argue that whether this does follow depends on our conception of causal explanation; on the interpretation of this concept that seems to me the (...)
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  46.  70
    Causal Explanation and Explanatory Selection.Rebecca Schweder - 1999 - Synthese 120 (1):115-124.
    It is observed that in ordinary everyday causal explanations often just one causal factor is mentioned. One causal factor carries the explanatory burden, even if there are several causal factors that are responsible for the event to be explained. This paper deals with the question of how to account for this explanatory selection. I argue for a pragmatic stance towards explanation, that we must attend to the question–answer situation as a whole and the context of (...)
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  47.  92
    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 (...)
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  48.  25
    Causal Explanation and Model Building in History, Economics, and the New Economic History.David Braybrooke & Peter D. McClelland - 1977 - History and Theory 16 (3):337.
  49.  20
    The Dynamics of Responsibility Judgment: Joint Role of Dependence and Transference Causal Explanations.Sofia Bonicalzi, Eugenia Kulakova, Chiara Brozzo, Sam J. Gilbert & Patrick Haggard - 2022 - Philosophical Psychology 35 (6):911-939.
    Reasoning about underlying causal relations drives responsibility judgments: agents are held responsible for the outcomes they cause through their behaviors. Two main causal reasoning approaches exist: dependence theories emphasize statistical relations between causes and effects, while transference theories emphasize mechanical transmission of energy. Recently, pluralistic or hybrid models, combining both approaches, have emerged as promising psychological frameworks. In this paper, we focus on causal reasoning as involved in third-party judgements of responsibility and on related judgments of intention (...)
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  50. Causal Explanation and Ontological Commitment.Mark Colyvan - 1999 - In Uwe Meixner Peter Simons (ed.), Metaphysics in the Post-Metaphysical Age. Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society. pp. 1--141.
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