In the following we consider the possibility of interpretating recent non-local interferometric experiments according to the De Broglie causal model. With the help of a simplified mathematical model based on wavelet analysis it is indeed possible to explain it in a causal way. Furthermore we show the distinctions between the two formalisms and discuss some experimental conditions that may make these differences evident.
Many political philosophers hold the Feasible Alternatives Principle (FAP): justice demands that we implement some reform of international institutions P only if P is feasible and P improves upon the status quo from the standpoint of justice. The FAP implies that any argument for a moral requirement to implement P must incorporate claims whose content pertains to the causal processes that explain the current state of affairs. Yet, philosophers routinely neglect the need to attend to actual causal processes. This undermines (...) their arguments concerning moral requirements to reform international institutions. The upshot is that philosophers’ arguments must engage in causal analysis to a greater extent than is typical. -/- [Supplement: Handout available at http://db.tt/fyuVW3Xv]. (shrink)
Thought experiments are ubiquitous in science and especially prominent in domains in which experimental and observational evidence is scarce. One such domain is the causal analysis of singular events in history. A long‐standing tradition that goes back to Max Weber addresses the issue by means of ‘what‐if’ counterfactuals. In this paper I give a descriptive account of this widely used method and argue that historians following it examine difference makers rather than causes in the philosopher’s sense. While difference making (...) is neither necessary nor sufficient for causation, to establish difference makers is more consistent with the historians’ more ultimate purposes. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, Erasmus University, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
In social science, one objection to causal analysis is that the assumption of the closure of the system makes the analysis too narrow in scope, that is, it considers only 'closed' and 'hermetic' systems thus neglecting many other external influences. On the contrary, system analysis deals with complex structures where every element is interrelated with everything else in the system. The question arises as to whether the two approaches can be compatible and whether causal analysis can (...) be integrated into the broader framework of system analysis. This article attempts a negative answer on the grounds of fundamental differences in their assumptions and suggests using system analysis as a post-hoc comparative tool. (shrink)
Based on the method of statistical-causal analysis (Salmon 1970; Stegmüller 1973) Hans Westmeyer has presented in this journal (1975, pp. 57–86) an algorithmic construction of the diagnostic process which he considers as a suitable prescription for the course of the diagnostics. In this paper it is shown that both statistical-causal analysis and the diagnostic algorithm of Westmeyer cannot be viewed as conclusive solutions to problems associated with the diagnostics.
The model of statistical-causal analysis developed by Stegmüller (1973) with reference to Salmon (1970, 1971) is applied to the diagnostic process and suggested as a replacement for the model of inductive-statistical systematization in the context of normative diagnostics (Westmeyer, 1972). For a generalization of the model with respect to discrete random variables, an algorithmic construction of the diagnostic process is given generally and then elucidated by a simple example. It becomes apparent that this model avoids important problems which confront (...) normative diagnostics relying on the model of inductive-statistical systematization. (shrink)
The causal impacts of genes and environment on any one biological trait are inextricably entangled, and consequently it is widely accepted that it makes no sense in singleton cases to privilege either factor for particular credit. On the other hand, at a population level it may well be the case that one of the factors is responsible for more variation than the other. Standard methodological practice in biology uses the statistical technique of analysis of variance to measure this latter (...) kind of causal efficacy. In this paper, I argue that: 1) analysis of variance is in fact badly suited to this role; and. (shrink)
The most recent resurgence of philosophical attention to the so-called ‘functional talk' in the sciences can be summarized in terms of the following questions: (Q1) What kind of restrictions, and in particular, what kind of evolutionary restrictions as well as to what extent, is involved in functional ascriptions? (Q2) How can we account for the explanatory import of function-ascribing statements? This paper addresses these questions through a modified version of Cummins' functional analysis. The modification in question is concerned with (...) phylogenetical restrictions on causal role functions, and it stems from an analysis of some primary areas in molecular biology. I examine how evolutionary consideration affects the so-called ‘function-analytical explanatory strategy' (Cummins  1998, 2002). Finally, I argue that the neo-functional analysis here proposed accounts for a certain convergence between the main rival theories of biological function. ‡I wish to thank David Davies, Eva Jablonka, Thomas Reydon, and Marcel Weber for their helpful comments. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Rijeka, Omladinska 14, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia; e-mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
This paper distinguishes between causal isolation robustness analysis and independent determination robustness analysis and suggests that the triangulation of the results of different epistemic means or activities serves different functions in them. Circadian clock research is presented as a case of causal isolation robustness analysis: in this field researchers made use of the notion of robustness to isolate the assumed mechanism behind the circadian rhythm. However, in contrast to the earlier philosophical case studies on causal isolation robustness (...)analysis (Weisberg and Reisman in Philos Sci 75:106–131, 2008 ; Kuorikoski et al. in Br J Philos Sci 61:541–567, 2010 ), robustness analysis in the circadian clock research did not remain in the level of mathematical modeling, but it combined it with experimentation on model organisms and a new type of model, a synthetic model. (shrink)
In a recent paper Causal Asymmetry, Douglas Ehring has proposed an intriguing solution to the vexing problem of causal asymmetry. The aim of this paper is to show that his theory is not satisfactory. Moreover, the examples that I use in showing the defect of Ehring's theory also indicate that the counterfactual analysis of causation has a problem that cannot be remedied by Marshall Swain's suggested refinement of the counterfactual analysis of causation in Causation and Distinct Events.
The most recent resurgence of philosophical attention to the so-called ‘functional talk’ in the sciences can be summarized in terms of the following questions: (Q1) What kind of restrictions, and in particular, what kind of evolutionary restrictions as well as to what extent, are involved in functional ascriptions? (Q2) How can we account for the explanatory import of function-ascribing statements? This paper addresses these questions on the basis of a modified version of Cummins’ functional analysis. The modification in question (...) is concerned with phylogenetical restrictions on causal role functions, and it stems from an analysis of some primary areas in molecular biology. I examine how evolutionary consideration affects the so-called “function-analytical explanatory strategy” (Cummins  1998, 2002). Finally, I argue that the neo-functional analysis here proposed accounts for a certain convergence between the main rival theories of biological function. (shrink)
To claim that x was the cause of y (or x caused y) is 1) to assume that x was one of a number of things, each of which together with the others was sufficient to have brought about y, and 2) to deem x responsible for the occurrence of y. A best-explanation argument, including application to cases, is offered in defense of this analysis, which holds that claiming that something is the cause is, in part, a speech act (...) (deeming x to be responsible) that reflects the cause selector’s values or perspectives. No proposed alternative explanation accounts for all the cases with which I am familiar, but this analysis does account for them. Thus the analysis and the defense of sole singular causal claims call for more than empirical evidence, though of course evidence is very important. (shrink)
I critically analyse two causal analyses of seeing, by Frank Jackson and Michael Tye. I show that both are unacceptable. I argue that Jackson's analysis fails because it does not rule out cases of non-seeing. Tye's analysis seems to be superior to Jackson's in this respect, but I show that it too lets in cases of non-seeing. I also show that Tye's proposed solution to a problem for his theory -- which involves a robot that mimics another (unseen) (...) robot -- fails. Finally I show that his 'variability' requirement is not necessary, because there are cases where someone can see an object even though the variability that Tye requires does not exist. (shrink)
Even though potential impacts of political and legal environments of business on ethical behavior of firms (EBOF) have been conceptually recognized, not much evidence (i.e., empirical work) has been produced to clarify their role. In this paper, using Bayesian causal maps (BCMs) methodology, relationships between legal and political environments of business and EBOF are investigated. The unique design of our study allows us to analyze these relationships based on the stages of development in 92 countries around the world. The EBOF (...) models structured through BCMs are used to explain how EBOF in a given country group are shaped by how managers perceive political, legislative, and protective environments of business in these countries. The results suggest that irregular payments and bribes are the most influential factors affecting managers’ perceptions of business ethics in relatively more advanced economies, whereas intellectual property protection is the most influential factor affecting managers’ perceptions of business ethics in less-advanced economies. The results also suggest that regardless of where the business is conducted in the world, judicial independence is the driving force behind managers’ perceptions of business ethics. In addition, the results of this study provide further support for scholars who argue that business ethics is likely to vary among countries based on their socio-economic factors. In addition to its managerial implications, the study provides directions for policy makers to improve the ethical conduct of businesses in their respective countries. (shrink)
The retreat from the paradise of deterministic causation and the general principles involved in this retreat, which has been forced upon us by quantum mechanics, is described in more or less successive stages.
Questions concerning mediated causal effects are of great interest in psychology, cognitive science, medicine, social science, public health, and many other disciplines. For instance, about 60% of recent papers published in leading journals in social psychology contain at least one mediation test (Rucker, Preacher, Tormala, & Petty, 2011). Standard parametric approaches to mediation analysis employ regression models, and either the “difference method” (Judd & Kenny, 1981), more common in epidemiology, or the “product method” (Baron & Kenny, 1986), more common (...) in the social sciences. In this article, we first discuss a known, but perhaps often unappreciated, fact that these parametric approaches are a special case of a general counterfactual framework for reasoning about causality first described by Neyman (1923) and Rubin (1924) and linked to causal graphical models by Robins (1986) and Pearl (2006). We then show a number of advantages of this framework. First, it makes the strong assumptions underlying mediation analysis explicit. Second, it avoids a number of problems present in the product and difference methods, such as biased estimates of effects in certain cases. Finally, we show the generality of this framework by proving a novel result which allows mediation analysis to be applied to longitudinal settings with unobserved confounders. (shrink)
The contribution argues that causal interpretations of empirical correlations between neural and conscious events are meaningful even if not fully verifiable and that there are reasons in favour of an epiphenomenalist construction of psychophysical causality. It is suggested that an account of causality can be given that makes interactionism, epiphenomenalism and Leibnizian parallelism semantically distinct interpretations of the phenomena. Though neuroscience cannot strictly prove or rule out any one of these interpretations it can be argued that methodological principles favour a (...) causal interpretation on epiphenomenalist lines, both for reasons of metaphysical parsimony and for reasons of coherence with established physical principles such as the conservation of energy. In the concluding chapter, some of the philosophical and the empirical challenges following from this model are outlined, the most important being closer scrutiny of the neurophysiological processes accompanying conscious volition. (shrink)
The semantic relations between and within utterances are marked by the use of connectors and adverbials. One type of semantic relations is causal relations expressed by causal markers such as because, therefore, so, for, etc. Some of these markers cover different types of causal relations such as causality, explanation and justification. In certain types of discourse, causal relations also imply an intentional element. This paper describes the way in which the semantic and pragmatic functions of causal markers can be accounted (...) for in terms of linguistic and rhetorical theories of argumentation. (shrink)
The analyses of explanation and causal beliefs are heavily dependent on using probability functions as models of epistemic states. There are, however, several aspects of beliefs that are not captured by such a representation and which affect the outcome of the analyses. One dimension that has been neglected in this article is the temporal aspect of the beliefs. The description of a single event naturally involves the time it occurred. Some analyses of causation postulate that the cause must not occur (...) later than the effect. If we want this kind of causality it is easy to add the appropriate clause to ( CAUS ). An alternative is not to rule out backwards causation or causal loops a priori , but expect that ( CAUS ), via the properties of the contraction P C - , will result in the desired temporal relation between C and E . One way of ensuring this is to postulate that when the probability function P is contracted to P C - , the probabilities of all events that occurred before C remain the same in P C - as in P . This means that all beliefs about the history of events up to C are left unaltered in the construction of the hypothetical state of belief P C - . In conclusion, I hope to have shown that, in spite of these limitations, ( EXP ) and ( CAUS ) provide viable analyses of explanation and causality between single events for the case when epistemic states can be described by probability functions. I have also shown that the two analyses can be used to explicate the close connections between the two notions. These analyses reduce the problems of explanation and causality, hopefully in a non-circular way, to the problem of identifying contractions of states of belief. (shrink)
Recent philosophical studies of probabilistic causation and statistical explanation have opened up the possibility of unifying philosophical approaches with causal modeling as practiced in the social and biological sciences. This unification rests upon the statistical tools employed, the principle of common cause, the irreducibility of causation to statistics, and the idea of causal process as a suitable framework for understanding causal relationships. These four areas of contact are discussed with emphasis on the relevant aspects of causal modeling.
I shall attempt in this article to identify the spectrum of major theoretical schools relating to the nature of technological development. These, I shall argue, range from the tech-deterministic on the one end to the socio-deterministic school of thought on the opposite end of the spectrum. The purpose of this article is also to place human subjects into the arena of technology development by way of the hypothesis that interests and elites are involved in the formulation of public IT policy. (...) Such elites, I maintain, are in turn guided by their occupationally-related problem-solution mindsets in addition to their interests. As a consequence, we shall come to perceive a world of limited power and resources where people, if even a select few (an elite), compete to successfully create processes, structures and objects which serve their mutually agreed purposes. I shall conclude the article by presenting a short critique of the existing body of theory on technological development as concerns the suitability of such theories for the concrete and systematic analysis of public technology policy and shall offer a brief description of a systematic approach to the analysis and further development of public information technology policy. (shrink)
The chronological order of the events along a spacelike path is not invariant under Lorentz transformations, as is well known. This led to an early conviction that tachyons would give rise to causal anomalies. A relativistic version of the Stückelberg-Feynman “switching procedure” (SWP) has been invoked as the suitable tool to eliminate those anomalies. The application of the SWP does eliminate the motions backwards in time, but interchanges the roles ofsource anddetector. This fact triggered the proposal of a host of (...) causal “paradoxes.” Till now, however, it has not been recognized that such paradoxes can be sensibly discussed (and completely solved, at least “in microphysics”)only after the tachyon relativistic mechanics has been properly developed. We start by showing how to apply the SWP, both in the case ofordinary special relativity and in the case with tachyons. Then we carefully exploit the kinematics of the tachyon exchange between to (ordinary) bodies. Being finally able to tackle the tachyon causality problem, we successively solve the paradoxes of : (i) Tolman-Regge, (ii) Pirani, (iii) Edmonds, and (iv) Bell. Finally, we discuss a further, new paradox associated with the transmission of signals by modulated tachyon beams. (shrink)
The prevention, treatment and management of disease are closely linked to how the causes of a particular disease are explained. For multi-factorial conditions, the causal explanations are inevitably complex and competing models may exist to explain the same condition. Selecting one particular causal explanation over another will carry practical and ethical consequences that are acutely relevant for health policy. In this paper our focus is two-fold; (i) the different models of causal explanation that are put forward within current scientific literature (...) for the high and rising prevalence of the common complex conditions of coronary artery disease (CAD) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D); and (ii) how these explanations are taken up (or not) within national health policy guidelines. We examine the causal explanations for these two conditions through a systematic database search of current scientific literature. By identifying different causal explanations we propose a three-tier taxonomy of the most prominent models of explanations: (i) evolutionary, (ii) lifecourse, and (iii) lifestyle and environment. We elaborate this taxonomy with a micro-level thematic analysis to illustrate how some explanations are semantically and rhetorically foregrounded over others. We then investigate the uptake of the scientific causal explanations in health policy documents with regard to the prevention and management recommendations of current National Service Frameworks for CAD and T2D. Our findings indicate a lack of congruence between the complexity and frequent overlap of causal explanations evident in the scientific literature and the predominant focus on lifestyle recommendations found in the mainstream health policy documents. (shrink)
Social network analysis (SNA) is an increasingly popular approach that provides researchers with highly developed tools to map and analyze complexes of social relations. Although a number of network scholars have explicated the assumptions that underpin SNA, the approach has yet to be discussed in relation to established philosophies of science. This article argues that there is a tension between applied and methods-oriented SNA studies, on the one hand, and those addressing the social-theoretical nature and implications of networks, on (...) the other. The former, in many cases, exhibits positivist tendencies, whereas the latter incorporate a number of assumptions that are directly compatible with core critical realist views on the nature of social reality and knowledge. This article suggests that SNA may be detached from positivist social science and come to constitute a valuable instrument in the critical realist toolbox. (shrink)
Fred Dretske?s (1988) account of the causal role of intentional mental states was widely criticized for missing the target: he explained why a type of intentional state causes the type of bodily motion it does rather than some other type, when what we wanted was an account of how the intentional properties of these states play a causal role in each singular causal relation with a token bodily motion. I argue that the non-reductive metaphysics that Dretske defends for his account (...) of behavior can be extended to the case of intentional states, and that this extension provides a way to show how intentional properties can play the causal role that we wanted explained. (shrink)
This paper studies the causal interpretation of counterfactual sentences using a modifiable structural equation model. It is shown that two properties of counterfactuals, namely, composition and effectiveness, are sound and complete relative to this interpretation, when recursive (i.e., feedback-less) models are considered. Composition and effectiveness also hold in Lewis's closest-world semantics, which implies that for recursive models the causal interpretation imposes no restrictions beyond those embodied in Lewis's framework. A third property, called reversibility, holds in nonrecursive causal models but not (...) in Lewis's closest-world semantics, which implies that Lewis's axioms do not capture some properties of systems with feedback. Causal inferences based on counterfactual analysis are exemplified and compared to those based on graphical models. (shrink)
The present paper analyzes the regularities referred to via the concept 'self.' This is important, for cognitive science traditionally models the self as a cognitive mediator between perceptual inputs and behavioral outputs. This leads to the assertion that the self causes action. Recent findings in social psychology indicate this is not the case and, as a consequence, certain cognitive scientists model the self as being epiphenomenal. In contrast, the present paper proposes an alternative approach (i.e., the event-control approach) that is (...) based on recently discovered regularities between perception and action. Specifically, these regularities indicate that perception and action planning utilize common neural resources. This leads to a coupling of perception, planning, and action in which the first two constitute aspects of a single system (i.e., the distal-event system) that is able to pre-specify and detect distal events. This distal-event system is then coupled with action (i.e., effector-control systems) in a constraining, as opposed to 'causal' manner. This model has implications for how we conceptualize the manner in which one infers the intentions of another, anticipates the intentions of another, and possibly even experiences another. In conclusion, it is argued that it may be possible to map the concept 'self' onto the regularities referred to in the event-control model, not in order to reify 'the self' as a causal mechanism, but to demonstrate its status as a useful concept that refers to regularities that are part of the natural order. (shrink)
A shared problem across the sciences is to make sense of correlational data coming from observations and/or from experiments. Arguably, this means establishing when correlations are causal and when they are not. This is an old problem in philosophy. This paper, narrowing down the scope to quantitative causal analysis in social science, reformulates the problem in terms of the validity of statistical models. Two strategies to make sense of correlational data are presented: first, a 'structural strategy', the goal of (...) which is to model and test causal structures that explain correlational data; second, a 'manipulationist or interventionist strategy', that hinges upon the notion of invariance under intervention. It is argued that while the former can offer a solution the latter cannot. (shrink)