Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||Causal explanation proceeds by citing the causes of the explanandum. Any model of causal explanation requires a specification of the relation between cause and effect in virtue of which citing the cause explains the effect. In particular, it requires a specification of what it is for the explanandum to be causally dependent on the explanans and what types of things (broadly understood) the explanans are. There have been a number of such models. For the benefit of the unfamiliar reader, here is a brief statement of some major views. On David Lewis’s account, c causally explains e if c is connected to e with a network of causal chains. For him, causal explanation consists in presenting portions of explanatory information captured by the causal network. On Wesley Salmon’s reading, c causally explains e if c is connected with e by a suitable continuous causal (i.e., capable of transmitting a mark) process. On the standard deductive-nomological reading of causal explanation, for c to causally explain e, c must be a nomologically sufficient condition for e. And for John Mackie, for c to causally explain e there must be event-types C and E such that C is an inus-condition for E.53 In a series of papers and a book, James Woodward (1997, 2000, 2002, 2003a, 2003b) has put forward a ‘manipulationist’ account of causal explanation. Briefly put, c causally explains e if e causally depends on c, where the notion of causal dependence is understood in terms of relevant (interventionist) counterfactual, that is counterfactuals that describe the outcomes of interventions. A bit more accurately, c causally explains e if, were c to be (actually or counterfactually) manipulated, e would change too. This model ties causal explanation to actual and counterfactual experiments that show how manipulation of factors mentioned in the explanans would alter the explanandum. It also stresses the role of invariant relationships, as opposed to strict laws, in causal explanation. Explanation in this model consists in answering a network of “what-if-things-had-been-different questions”, thereby placing the explanandum within a pattern of counterfactual dependencies (cf. Woodward 2003a, p..|
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Only published papers are available at libraries|
Similar books and articles
Denis J. Hilton (1996). Mental Models and Causal Explanation: Judgements of Probable Cause and Explanatory Relevance. Thinking and Reasoning 2 (4):273 – 308.
Jennifer Mckitrick (2005). Are Dispositions Causally Relevant? Synthese 144 (3):357 - 371.
Stuart Glennan (2009). Productivity, Relevance and Natural Selection. Biology and Philosophy 24 (3):325-339.
Rebecca Schweder (1999). Causal Explanation and Explanatory Selection. Synthese 120 (1):115-124.
Ruth Berger (1998). Understanding Science: Why Causes Are Not Enough. Philosophy of Science 65 (2):306-332.
George Botterill (2010). Two Kinds of Causal Explanation. Theoria 76 (4):287-313.
Scott R. Sehon (2000). An Argument Against the Causal Theory of Action Explanation. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (1):67-85.
Robrecht Vanderbeeken (2004). Models of Intentional Explanation. Philosophical Explorations 7 (3):233 – 246.
Added to index2009-04-01
Total downloads60 ( #19,404 of 751,991 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #62,995 of 751,991 )
How can I increase my downloads?