David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (1):45-76 (2007)
We discuss Russell's 1913 essay arguing for the irrelevance of the idea of causation to science and its elimination from metaphysics as a precursor to contemporary philosophical naturalism. We show how Russell's application raises issues now receiving much attention in debates about the adequacy of such naturalism, in particular, problems related to the relationship between folk and scientific conceptual influences on metaphysics, and to the unification of a scientifically inspired worldview. In showing how to recover an approximation to Russell's conclusion while explaining scientists' continuing appeal to causal ideas (without violating naturalism by philosophically correcting scientists) we illustrate a general naturalist strategy for handling problems around the unification of sciences that assume different levels of naïveté with respect to folk conceptual frameworks. We do this despite rejecting one of the premises of Russell's argument, a version of reductionism that was scientifically plausible in 1913 but is not so now.
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Citations of this work BETA
Matt Farr & Alexander Reutlinger (2013). A Relic of a Bygone Age? Causation, Time Symmetry and the Directionality Argument. Erkenntnis 78 (2):215-235.
Alexander Reutlinger (2014). Can Interventionists Be Neo-Russellians? Interventionism, the Open Systems Argument, and the Arrow of Entropy. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (3):273-293.
Alyssa Ney (2009). Physical Causation and Difference-Making. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):737-764.
D. Wade Hands (2013). Foundations of Contemporary Revealed Preference Theory. Erkenntnis 78 (5):1081-1108.
Alexander Reutlinger (forthcoming). Are Causal Facts Really Explanatorily Emergent? Ladyman and Ross on Higher-Level Causal Facts and Renormalization Group Explanation. Synthese.
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