Wesley Salmon is renowned for his seminal contributions to the philosophy of science. He has powerfully and permanently shaped discussion of such issues as lawlike and probabilistic explanation and the interrelation of explanatory notions to causal notions. This unique volume brings together twenty-six of his essays on subjects related to causality and explanation, written over the period 1971-1995. Six of the essays have never been published before and many others have only appeared in obscure venues. The volume includes a (...) section of accessible introductory pieces, as well as more advanced and technical pieces, and will make essential work in the philosophy of science readily available to both scholars and students. (shrink)
I argue that Berkeley's distinctive idealism/immaterialism can't support his view that objects of sense, immediately or mediately perceived, are causally inert. (The Passivity of Ideas thesis or PI) Neither appeal to ordinary perception, nor traditional arguments, for example, that causal connections are necessary, and we can't perceive such connections, are helpful. More likely it is theological concerns,e.g., how to have second causes if God upholds by continuously creating the world, that's in the background. This puts Berkeley closer to Malebranche than (...) to Hume. -/- As far the what I call the "first strategy;" defending the passivity of ideas by ordinary introspection, I refer to the work of the French psychologist Albert Michotte,(1940) and those now extending his experiments, to show that (1) there is an immediate and quite robust visual impression of causality, (admitted in fact by Berkeley, Malebranche and Hume) and (2) of more importance, the impression isn't due to projecting into nature expectations gained from experienced regularities. (shrink)
Intentionality, as Brentano originally introduced the term in modern philosophy, was meant to provide a distinctive characteristic definitively separating the mental from the physical.(1) Mental states have an intrinsic relationship to an object, to that which they are "about." Physical entities just are what they are, they cannot, by their very essence, refer to anything, they have no "outreach", as one might put it. Mental states have, as it were, an incomplete essence, they cannot exist at all unless they are (...) completed by something other than themselves, their object. Brentano's position is opposed to all theories which represent the mental as only extrinsically related to the world, that is, to all theories in which mental states are themselves self-sufficient for their own existence and only secondarily relate to the world by means of something external to their nature, e.g., neurological causation, divine intervention, or pre-established harmony. In these later cases, any mental act whatsoever could be related to any object, or indeed to none, for the relation is external to the nature of the act, it is superimposed on it by outside forces. Brentano's point is that a mental act has, by its very essence, an Intentional object without which it would not be a mental act. It would therefore appear that since causality is an external relationship which could in principle relate any two things regardless of their nature, the Intentional relation between an act and its object cannot be a causal relation. (shrink)
For a better understanding of causality Content Type Journal Article Category Essay Review Pages 1-6 DOI 10.1007/s11016-012-9648-3 Authors Alexander Gebharter, Department of Philosophy, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Universitätsstraße 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany Gerhard Schurz, Department of Philosophy, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Universitätsstraße 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Critics have alleged that Democritus’ ethical prescriptions (“gnomai”) are incompatible with his physics, since his atomism seems committed to necessity or chance (or an awkward combination of both) as a universal cause of everything, leaving no room for personal responsibility. I argue that Democritus’ critics, both ancient and contemporary, have misunderstood a fundamental concept of his causality: a cause called “spontaneity”, which Democritus evidently considered a necessary (not chance) cause, compatible with human freedom, of both atomic motion and human (...) actions. Some influential contemporary compatibilists have argued that freedom and responsibility are compatible with causal determinism, but not intentional constraint where some other agent is intentionally manipulating or coercing one’s actions. In line with this, Democritus holds that humans should not blame their actions on other agents like the gods, or agent-like external forces like fate or chance, but should assume ultimate intentional control over their own choices and actions. The famous remark of his associate Leucippus that “everything happens for a reason and out of necessity” is a fitting slogan of their atomistic philosophy, for Democritus pursued what can without anachronism be recognized as a causal theory of freedom. (shrink)
The empirical literature on phenomenal causality (i.e., the notion that causality can be perceived) is reviewed. In Part I of this two-part series, different potential types of phenomenal causality (launching, triggering, reaction, tool, entraining, traction, braking, enforced disintegration and bursting, coordinated movement, penetration, expulsion) are described. Stimulus variables (temporal gap, spatial gap, spatial overlap, direction, absolute velocity, velocity ratio, trajectory length, radius of action, size, motion type, modality, animacy) and observer variables (attention, eye movements and fixation, prior (...) experience, intelligence, age, culture, psychopathology) that influence phenomenal causality are reviewed. This provides the necessary background for consideration in Part II (Hubbard, in press) of broader questions regarding properties of phenomenal causality, empirical and theoretical connections of phenomenal causality to other perceptual or cognitive phenomena or processes, and potential mechanisms and models of phenomenal causality. (shrink)
The empirical literature on phenomenal causality (the notion that causality can be perceived) is reviewed. Different potential types of phenomenal causality and variables that influence phenomenal causality were considered in Part I (Hubbard 2012b ) of this two-part series. In Part II, broader questions regarding properties of phenomenal causality and connections of phenomenal causality to other perceptual or cognitive phenomena (different types of phenomenal causality, effects of spatial and temporal variance, phenomenal causality (...) in infancy, effects of object properties, naïve physics, spatial localization, other illusions, amodal completion, Gestalt principles of perceptual grouping, effects of context, differences between physical and social causality, effects of learning and experience, individual differences, effects of predictability, asymmetry in phenomenal causality, differences between perceived causality and perceived force, phenomenal causality in nonhuman animals) are considered. Potential mechanisms of phenomenal causality (inference from contiguity, a priori understanding, ampliation, perceptual learning, stimulus activity, beliefs regarding kinematics, haptic experience, beliefs regarding impetus, postdiction, innateness, modularity, specific neural structures) are also considered. (shrink)
One familiar affirmative answer to this question holds that these facts suffice to entail that Descartes' picture of the human mind must be mistaken. On Descartes' view, our mind or soul (the only essential part of ourselves) has no spatial location. Yet it directly interacts with but one physical object, the brain of that body with which it is, 'as it were, intermingled,' so as to 'form one unit.' The radical disparity posited between a nonspatial mind, whose intentional and conscious (...) properties are had by no physical object, and a spatial body, all of whose properties are had by no mind, has prompted some to conclude that, pace Descartes, causal interaction between the two is impossible. Jaegwon Kim has recently given a new twist to this old line of thought.(1) In the present essay, I will use Kim's argument as a springboard for motivating my own favored picture of the metaphysics of mind and body and then discussing how an often vilified account of freedom of the will may be realized within it. (shrink)
Causal theories of perception typically have problems in explaining deviant causal chains. They also have difficulty with other unusual putative cases of perception involving prosthetic aids, defective perception, scientifically extended cases of perception, and so on. But I show how a more adequate reflexive causal theory, in which objects or properties X cause a perceiver to acquire X-related dispositions toward that very same item X, can provide a plausible and principled perceptual explanation of all of these kinds of cases. A (...) critical discussion of David Lewis's perceptual descriptivist views is also provided, including a defense of the logical possibility of systematic misperception or perceptual error for a perceiver, in spite of its empirical improbability. (shrink)
This article contains a survey of recent debates in the philosophy of photography, focusing on aesthetic and epistemic issues in particular. Starting from widespread notions about automatism, causality and realism in the theory of photography, the authors ask whether the prima facie tension between the epistemic and aesthetic embodied in oppositions such as automaticism and agency, causality and intentionality, realism and fictional competence is more than apparent. In this context, the article discusses recent work by Roger Scruton, Dominic (...) Lopes, Kendall Walton, Gregory Currie, Jonathan Cohen and Aaron Meskin, Noël Carroll, and Patrick Maynard in some detail. Specific topics addressed include: aesthetic scepticism, transparency, imagination, perception, information, representation and depiction. (shrink)
Causality offers the first comprehensive coverage of causal analysis in many sciences, including recent advances using graphical methods. Pearl presents a unified account of the probabilistic, manipulative, counterfactual and structural approaches to causation, and devises simple mathematical tools for analyzing the relationships between causal connections, statistical associations, actions and observations. The book will open the way for including causal analysis in the standard curriculum of statistics, artificial intelligence, business, epidemiology, social science and economics.
In this paper, I argue that it is in the fourteenth century that the problem of the compatibility or unity of efficient and final causality emerges. William Ockham and John Buridan start to flirt with a mechanized view of nature solely explainable by efficient causality, and they hence push final causality into the human mind and use it to explain for example action, morality and the good. Their argumentation introduces the problem of how to give a unified (...) account of the world, that is, how are nature and freedom compatible. In the paper, I set up the discussion by going through some of the problems associated with final causality in the seventeenth century and show that Ockham and Buridan's problems are similar. I then argue using a formulation from Leibniz's Monadology that the problems here traced should be seen as versions of the mind/body problem. (shrink)
The Mind/Body Problem (M/BP) is about causation not correlation. And its solution (if there is one) will require a mechanism in which the mental component somehow manages to play a causal role of its own, rather than just supervening superflously on other, nonmental components that look, for all the world, as if they can do the full causal job perfectly well without it. Correlations confirm that M does indeed "supervene" on B, but causality is needed to show how/why M (...) is not supererogatory; and that's the hard part. (shrink)
D.M. Armstrong is an eminent Australian philosopher whose work over many years has dealt with such subjects as: the nature of possibility, concepts of the particular and the general, causes and laws of nature, and the nature of human consciousness. This collection of essays, all specially written for this volume, explore the many facets of Armstrong's work, concentrating on his more recent interests. There are four sections to the book: possibility and identity, universals, laws and causality, philosophy of mind. (...) The contributors comprise an international group of philosophers from the United States, England, and Australia. An interesting feature of the volume is that Armstrong himself has written responses to each of the essays. There is also a complete bibliography of Armstrong's writings. (shrink)
The development of causal modelling since the 1950s has been accompanied by a number of controversies, the most striking of which concerns the Markov condition. Reichenbach's conjunctive forks did satisfy the Markov condition, while Salmon's interactive forks did not. Subsequently some experts in the field have argued that adequate causal models should always satisfy the Markov condition, while others have claimed that non-Markovian causal models are needed in some cases. This paper argues for the second position by considering the multi-causal (...) forks, which are widespread in contemporary medicine (Section 2). A non-Markovian causal model for such forks is introduced and shown to be mathematically tractable (Sections 6, 7, and 8). The paper also gives a general discussion of the controversy about the Markov condition (Section 1), and of the related controversy about probabilistic causality (Sections 3, 4, and 5). (shrink)
This paper discusses several distinct process theories of causality offered in recent years by Phil Dowe and me. It addresses problems concerning the explication of causal process, causal interaction, and causal transmission, whether given in terms of transmission of marks, transmission of invariant or conserved quantities, or mere possession of conserved quantities. Renouncing the mark-transmission and invariant quantity criteria, I accept a conserved quantity theory similar to Dowe's--differing basically with respect to causal transmission. This paper also responds to several (...) fundamental constructive criticisms contained in Christopher Hitchcock's discussion of both the mark-transmission and the conserved quantity theories. (shrink)
This paper examines Wesley Salmon's "process" theory of causality, arguing in particular that there are four areas of inadequacy. These are that the theory is circular, that it is too vague at a crucial point, that statistical forks do not serve their intended purpose, and that Salmon has not adequately demonstrated that the theory avoids Hume's strictures about "hidden powers". A new theory is suggested, based on "conserved quantities", which fulfills Salmon's broad objectives, and which avoids the problems discussed.
In the philosophical tradition, the notions of determinism and causality are strongly linked: it is assumed that in a world of deterministic laws, causality may be said to reign supreme; and in any world where the causality is strong enough, determinism must hold. I will show that these alleged linkages are based on mistakes, and in fact get things almost completely wrong. In a deterministic world that is anything like ours, there is no room for genuine causation. (...) Though there may be stable enough macro-level regularities to serve the purposes of human agents, the sense of “causality” that can be maintained is one that will at best satisfy Humeans and pragmatists, not causal fundamentalists. (shrink)
: This paper argues that Kant's model of causality cannot consist in one temporally determinate event causing another, as Hume had thought, since such a model is inconsistent with mutual interaction, to which Kant is committed in the Third Analogy. Rather causality occurs when one substance actively exercises its causal powers according to the unchanging grounds that constitute its nature so as to determine a change of state of another substance. Because this model invokes unchanging grounds, one can (...) understand how Kant could have thought that causal laws could be justified. Further, because this model, along with the broader ontology it presupposes, is radically different from Hume's, Kant's Second Analogy cannot be understood as a refutation of Hume's position on Hume's own terms; instead, Kant must be proposing an alternative view that competes against Hume's thoroughgoing empiricist account. (shrink)
Arguably no concept is more fundamental to science than that of causality, for investigations into cases of existence, persistence, and change in the natural world are largely investigations into the causes of these phenomena. Yet the metaphysics and epistemology of causality remain unclear. For example, the ontological categories of the causal relata have been taken to be objects (Hume 1739), events (Davidson 1967), properties (Armstrong 1978), processes (Salmon 1984), variables (Hitchcock 1993), and facts (Mellor 1995). (For convenience, causes (...) and effects will usually be understood as events in what follows.) Complicating matters, causal relations may be singular (Socrates’s drinking hemlock caused Socrates’s death) or general (Drinking hemlock causes death); hence the relata might be tokens (e.g., instances of properties) or types (e.g., types of events) of the category in question. Other questions up for grabs are: Are singular causes metaphysically and/or epistemologically prior to general causes or vice versa (or neither)? What grounds the intuitive asymmetry of the causal relation? Are macro-causal relations reducible to micro-causal relations? And perhaps most importantly: Are causal facts (e.g., the holding of causal relations) reducible to non-causal facts (e.g., the holding of certain spatiotemporal relations)? (shrink)
This paper presents a drastically revised version of the theory of causality, based on analyses of causal processes and causal interactions, advocated in Salmon (1984). Relying heavily on modified versions of proposals by P. Dowe, this article answers penetrating objections by Dowe and P. Kitcher to the earlier theory. It shows how the new theory circumvents a host of difficulties that have been raised in the literature. The result is, I hope, a more satisfactory analysis of physical causality.
Nāgārjuna argues for the fundamental importance of causality, and dependence more generally, to our understanding of reality and of human life: his account of these matters is generally correct. First, his account of interdependence shows how we can clearly understand the nature of scientific explanation, the relationship between distinct levels of theoretical analysis in the sciences (with particular attention to cognitive science), and how we can sidestep difficulties in understanding the relations between apparently competing ontologies induced by levels of (...) description or explanation supervening on one another. Then rGyal tshab's exposition of Dharmakīrti's account, in the pramānasiddhi chapter of the "Pramāṇavarttika", of the necessity of a belief in rebirth for the cultivation of bodhicitta is examined. This account is accepted in the dGe lugs tradition both as an accurate representation of Dharmakīrti's views and as authoritative regarding bodhicitta and the mahākarunā that is its necessary condition. But Dharmakīrti, rGyal tshab, and their followers, by virtue of accepting this argument, neglect Nāgārjuna's account of dependent arising and in consequence are implicated in what might be seen from a proper Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka point of view as the very subtlest form of self-grasping. (shrink)
I want to explore one small corner of the concept of mental causality. It’s the corner where discussions about mind-body interactions and epiphenomenalism take place. My basic contention is that these discussions are framed in the wrong terms because they are infected by a mind-body dualism which defines the question of mental causality in a classic or standard way: How does a mental event cause my body to do what it does? Setting the question in this way has (...) consequences for ongoing interdisciplinary (psychological, neuroscientific, and philosophical) discussions of mental causation, as well as free will, and for our understanding of what we mean by a sense of agency for action. These concepts, in turn, have much to do with our understanding of what goes wrong in certain instances of psychopathology. I’ll try to get to this issue in the final part of my paper. Let me first set the historical scene of what I am calling this standard way of understanding the problem of mental causality. (shrink)
This chapter provides an overview of a range of probabilistic theories of causality, including those of Reichenbach, Good and Suppes, and the contemporary causal net approach. It discusses two key problems for probabilistic accounts: counterexamples to these theories and their failure to account for the relationship between causality and mechanisms. It is argued that to overcome the problems, an epistemic theory of causality is required.
Causality is the relation between cause and effect, and causation either the causing of something or the relation between cause and effect. What follows here is an account of the fundamental relation or connection between an effect, say the windshield wipers starting to work in this car, and what precedes it. What precedes it, fundamentally, is a causal circumstance or causally sufficient condition. This includes a number of conditions, one of them usually called the cause of the effect, say (...) flipping the switch. (shrink)
In this thesis, I give a metascientific account of causality in medicine. I begin with two historical cases of causal discovery. These are the discovery of the causation of Burkitt’s lymphoma by the Epstein-Barr virus, and of the various viral causes suggested for cervical cancer. These historical cases then support a philosophical discussion of causality in medicine. This begins with an introduction to the Russo- Williamson thesis (RWT), and discussion of a range of counter-arguments against it. Despite these, (...) I argue that the RWT is historically workable, given a small number of modifications. I then expand Russo and Williamson’s account. I first develop their suggestion that causal relationships in medicine require some kind of evidence of mechanism. I begin with a number of accounts of mechanisms and produce a range of consensus features of them. I then develop this consensus position by reference to the two historical case studies with an eye to their operational competence. In particular, I suggest that it is mechanistic models and their representations which we are concerned with in medicine, rather than the mechanism as it exists in the world. -/- I then employ these mechanistic models to give an account of the sorts of evidence used in formulating and evaluating causal claims. Again, I use the two human viral oncogenesis cases to give this account. I characterise and distinguish evidence of mechanism from evidence of difference-making, and relate this to mechanistic models. I then suggest the relationship between types of evidence presents us with a means of tackling the reference-class problem. This sets the scene for the final chapter. Here, I suggest the manner in which these two different classes of evidence become integrated is also reflected in the way that developing research programmes change as their associated causal claims develop. (shrink)
In this paper I put forward a suggestion for identifying causality in micro-systems with the specific quantum field theoretic interactions that occur in such systems. I first argue — along the lines of general transference theories — that such a physicalistic account is essential to an understanding of causation; I then proceed to sketch the concept of interaction as it occurs in quantum field theory and I do so from both a formal and an informal point of view. Finally, (...) I present reasons for thinking that only a quantum field theoretic account can do the job — in particular I rely on a theorem by D. Currie and to the effect that interaction cannot be described in (a Hamiltonian formulation of) Classical Mechanics. Throughout the paper I attempt to suggest that the widespread scepticism about the ability of quantum theory to support a theory of causality is mistaken and rests on several misunderstandings. (shrink)
Possibly the most fundamental scientific problem is the origin of time and causality. The inherent difficulty is that all scientific theories of origins and evolution consider the existence of time and causality as given. We tackle this problem by starting from the concept of self-organization, which is seen as the spontaneous emergence of order out of primordial chaos. Self-organization can be explained by the selective retention of invariant or consistent variations, implying a breaking of the initial symmetry exhibited (...) by randomness. In the case of time, we start from a random graph connecting primitive “events”. Selection on the basis of consistency eliminates cyclic parts of the graph, so that transitive closure can transform it into a partial order relation of precedence. Causality is assumed to be carried by causal “agents” which undergo a more traditional variation and selection, giving rise to causal laws that are partly contingent, partly necessary. (shrink)
This chapter addresses two questions: what are causal relationships? how can one discover causal relationships? I provide a survey of the principal answers given to these questions, followed by an introduction to my own view, epistemic causality, and then a comparison of epistemic causality with accounts provided by Judea Pearl and Huw Price.
Each Aristotelian science consists in the causal investigation of a specific department of reality. If successful, such an investigation results in causal knowledge; that is, knowledge of the relevant or appropriate causes. The emphasis on the concept of cause explains why Aristotle developed a theory of causality which is commonly known as the doctrine of the four causes. For Aristotle, a firm grasp of what a cause is, and how many kinds of causes there are, is essential for a (...) successful investigation of the world around us. (shrink)
David Malament tried to show that the causal theory of time leads to a unique determination of simultaneity relative to an inertial observer, namely standard simultaneity. I show that the causal relation Malament uses in his proofs, causal connectibility, should be replaced by a different causal relation, the one used by Reichenbach in his formulation of the theory. I also explain why Malament's reliance on the assumption that the observer has an eternal inertial history modifies our conception of simultaneity, and (...) I therefore eliminate it. Having made these changes, Malament's uniqueness result no longer follows, although the conventionality of simultaneity is not reinstated. I contrast my approach with previous criticisms of Malament. Introduction Causality and Temporal Order Malament's Argument Causality versus Causal Connectibility Simultaneity and History Conclusion. (shrink)
The anti-causal prophecies of last century have been disproved. Causality is neither a ‘relic of a bygone’ nor ‘another fetish of modern science’; it still occupies a large part of the current debate in philosophy and the sciences. This investigation into causal modelling presents the rationale of causality, i.e. the notion that guides causal reasoning in causal modelling. It is argued that causal models are regimented by a rationale of variation, nor of regularity neither invariance, thus breaking down (...) the dominant Human paradigm. The notion of variation is shown to be embedded in the scheme of reasoning behind various causal models: e.g. Rubin’s model, contingency tables, and multilevel analysis. It is also shown to be latent – yet fundamental – in many philosophical accounts. Moreover, it has significant consequences for methodological issues: the warranty of the causal interpretation of causal models, the levels of causation, the characterisation of mechanisms, and the interpretation of probability. This book offers a novel philosophical and methodological approach to causal reasoning in causal modelling and provides the reader with the tools to be up to date about various issues causality rises in social science. "Dr. Federica... more on http://springer.com/978-1-4020-8816-2.. (shrink)
This introduction to the volume begins with a manifesto that puts forward two theses: ﬁrst, that the sciences are the best place to turn in order to understand causality; second, that scientiﬁcally-informed philosophical investigation can bring something to the sciences too. Next, the chapter goes through the various parts of the volume, drawing out relevant background and themes of the chapters in those parts. Finally, the chapter discusses the progeny of the papers and identiﬁes some next steps for research (...) into causality in the sciences. (shrink)
This paper investigates the relations between causality and propensity. Aparticular version of the propensity theory of probability is introduced, and it is argued that propensities in this sense are not causes. Some conclusions regarding propensities can, however, be inferred from causal statements, but these hold only under restrictive conditions which prevent cause being defined in terms of propensity. The notion of a Bayesian propensity network is introduced, and the relations between such networks and causal networks is investigated. It is (...) argued that causal networks cannot be identified with Bayesian propensity networks, but that causal networks can be a valuable heuristic guide for the construction of Bayesian propensity networks. (shrink)
Probabilistic accounts of causality have long had trouble with ‘spurious’ evidential correlations. Such correlations are also central to the case for causal decision theory—the argument that evidential decision theory is inadequate to cope with certain sorts of decision problem. However, there are now several strong defences of the evidential theory. Here I present what I regard as the best defence, and apply it to the probabilistic approach to causality. I argue that provided a probabilistic theory appeals to the (...) notions of agency and effective strategy, it can avoid the problem of spurious causes. I show that such an appeal has other advantages; and argue that it is not illegitimate, even for a causal realist. (shrink)
In much recent work, invariance under intervention has become a hallmark of the correctness of a causal-law claim. Despite its importance this thesis generally is either simply assumed or is supported by very general arguments with heavy reliance on examples, and crucial notions involved are characterized only loosely. Yet for both philosophical analysis and practicing science, it is important to get clear about whether invariance under intervention is or is not necessary or sufficient for which kinds of causal claims. Furthermore, (...) we need to know what counts as an intervention and what invariance is. In this paper I offer explicit definitions of two different kinds for the notions intervention, invariance, and causal correctness. Then, given some natural and relatively uncontroversial assumptions, I prove two distinct sets of theorems showing that invariance is indeed a mark of causality when the concepts are appropriately interpreted. (shrink)
Process theories of causality seek to explicate causality as a property of individual causal processes. This paper examines the capacity of such theories to account for the asymmetry of causation. Three types of theories of asymmetry are discussed; the subjective, the temporal, and the physical, the third of these being the preferred approach. Asymmetric features of the world, namely the entropic and Kaon arrows, are considered as possible sources of causal asymmetry and a physical theory of asymmetry is (...) subsequently developed with special reference to the questions of objectivity and backwards causation. (shrink)
Systems involving many interacting variables are at the heart of the natural and social sciences. Causal language is pervasive in the analysis of such systems, especially when insight into their behavior is translated into policy decisions. This is exemplified by economics, but to an increasing extent also by biology, due to the advent of sophisticated tools to identify the genetic basis of many diseases. It is argued here that a regularity notion of causality can only be meaningfully defined for (...) systems with linear interactions among their variables. For the vastly more important class of nonlinear systems, no such notion is likely to exist. This thesis is developed with examples of dynamical systems taken mostly from mathematical biology. It is discussed with particular reference to the problem of causal inference in complex genetic systems, systems for which often only statistical characterizations exist. (shrink)
Two puzzles with regard to the Kritik der reinen Vernunft (KrV) are incongruent counterparts and causality. In De mundi sensibilis atque intelligibilis forma et principiis (MSI), Kant indicates that the experience of things like left and right hands, so-called incongruent counterparts, involve certain pure intuitions, and hence constitute one line of evidence for the claim that the concept of space itself is a pure intuition. In KrV, Kant again argues that the concept of space itself is a pure intuition, (...) but does not cite the experience of incongruent counterparts as evidence for this claim. Since there is ostensibly nothing in KrV which tells against the existence of the experiences of incongruent counterparts, the natural question is: “Why, in KrV, does Kant not cite the experience of incongruent counterparts as evidence for the claim that the concept of space is a pure intuition?” The problem with causality is as follows. One of the most primary and basic claims of KrV is that empirical experience is structured by non-empirical concepts, such as substantiality and causality. In a portion of KrV entitled the Transcendental Deduction, Kant gives section 20 the heading “All sensible intuitions stand under the categories, as conditions under which alone their the manifold can come together in one consciousness”. Since categories are those concepts which structure empirical experience, section 20 has demonstrated that all sensible intuitions are subject to substantiality and causality. However, there is a later portion of KrV entitled the Second Analogy with the heading “Principle of temporal sequence according to the law of causality: All alterations occur in accordance with the law of the connection of cause and effect”. Thus, the natural question is: “What does the Second Analogy demonstrate about causality which the Transcendental Deduction did not already demonstrate about causality?”. (shrink)
After introducing a range of mechanistic theories of causality and some of the problems they face, I argue that while there is a decisive case against a purely mechanistic analysis, a viable theory of causality must incorporate mechanisms as an ingredient. I describe one way of providing an analysis of causality which reaps the rewards of the mechanistic approach without succumbing to its pitfalls.
The object of this paper is to offer a conception of singular causality that lies between two main views in the literature, which I take to be paradigmatically represented by David Armstrong (1997) and by Michael Tooley (1987, 1990) respectively. Armstrong maintains that there is singular causation wherever there are singular facts that instantiate causal laws; these facts are otherwise independent regularities. Tooley maintains that singular causation is independent of causal laws together with any other non-causal fact. My own (...) view is that Armstrong’s account is too weak to conform a singularist position, as in his view singular causal relations are finally dependent on universal causation. On the other hand, Tooley’s account is too strong to be causal, as causation dissolves into a purely external and mysterious connection that is not even Humean -not even regularities play a role in its establishment. I want to maintain that there exists a middle way that correctly characterizes the spirit of singular causation, and that can be stated by (CS): (CS) Singular causality is metaphysically independent of universal causality. Neither Tooley nor Armstrong would admit (CS) as an appropriate defining thesis for causal singularism. In what follows, I consider different causal situations existing in the literature, with the purpose of analysing singular causation, arguing against Tooley and Armstrong's views, and defending (CS) instead. If my reasons are accepted, Armstrong’s position, rather than being singular in spirit, results into a form of causal universalism. I will also reject Tooley’s singularism as an extreme counterintuitive form of hyperrealism. Some consequences for causation are immediate. In particular, that singular causal relations are tropes, i.e., individual relations. (shrink)
Kant, in various parts of his treatment of causality, refers to determinism or the principle of sufficient reason as an inescapable principle. In fact, in the Second Analogy we find the elements to reconstruct a purely phenomenal determinism as a logical and tautological truth. I endeavour in this article to gather these elements into an organic theory of phenomenal causality and then show, in the third section, with a specific argument which I call the “paradox of phenomenal observation”, (...) that this phenomenal determinism is the only rational approach to causality because any logico-reductivistic approach, such as the Humean one, would destroy the temporal order and so the very possibility to talk of a causal relation. I also believe that, all things said, Kant did not achieve a much greater comprehension of the problem than Hume did, in his theory of causality, for he did not free a phenomenal approach from the impasse of reductivism as his reflections on “simultaneous causation” and “vanishing quantities” indeed show, and this I will argue in Sect. 4 of this article. (shrink)
After the problems of epistemology, the most fundamental problem of Islamic philosophy is that of causality. Causality has been studied from various perspectives. This paper endeavors first to analyze the issues of causality in Islamic philosophy and then to critique them. A sketch is provided of the history of the development of theories of causality in Islamic philosophy, with particular attention to how religious considerations came to determine the shape of the philosophical theories that were accepted. (...) It is suggested that outstanding philosophical and theological problems that have plagued the tradition of Islamic philosophy require a new approach to the issue of causality. (shrink)
I discuss the idea of relativistic causality, i.e., the requirement that causal processes or signals can propagate only within the light-cone. After briefly locating this requirement in the philosophy of causation, my main aim is to draw philosophers' attention to the fact that it is subtle, indeed problematic, in relativistic quantum physics: there are scenarios in which it seems to fail. I set aside two such scenarios, which are familiar to philosophers of physics: the pilot-wave approach, and the Newton-Wigner (...) representation. I instead stress two unfamiliar scenarios: the Drummond-Hathrell and Scharnhorst effects. These effects also illustrate a general moral in the philosophy of geometry: that the mathematical structures, especially the metric tensor, that represent geometry get their geometric significance by dint of detailed physical arguments. (shrink)
We argue that the health sciences make causal claims on the basis of evidence both of physical mechanisms, and of probabilistic dependencies. Consequently, an analysis of causality solely in terms of physical mechanisms or solely in terms of probabilistic relationships, does not do justice to the causal claims of these sciences. Yet there seems to be a single relation of cause in these sciences - pluralism about causality will not do either. Instead, we maintain, the health sciences require (...) a theory of causality that unifies its mechanistic and probabilistic aspects. We argue that the epistemic theory of causality provides the required unification. (shrink)
Photography is often said to be an essentially causal medium. This paper addresses the role of causality in photography and argues for three main claims: (i) a causal theory of photography does not force us to say that images of backlit objects are photographs of the back surfaces of the said objects (as Roy Sorensen would have it); rather, (ii), such images, I suggest, are photographs of the objects and what Alva Noë would call their ‘looks’; (iii) the notion (...) of ‘looks’ furnishes us with a way to move closer to an answer to the question of the appropriate causal relation in photography. (shrink)
One of the cornerstones of modern medicine is the search for what causes diseases to develop. A conception of multifactorial disease causes has emerged over the years. Theories of disease causation, however, have not quite been developed in accordance with this view. It is the purpose of this paper to provide a fundamental explication of aspects of causation relevant for discussing causes of disease.The first part of the analysis will discuss discrimination between singular and general causality. Singular causality, (...) as in the specific patient, is a relation between a concrete sequence of causally linked events. General causation, e.g. as in disease etiology, means various categories of causal relations between event types. The paper introduces the concept of a reference case serving as a source for causal inference, reaching beyond the concept of general causality. (shrink)
In a recent paper (1994) Wesley Salmon has replied to criticisms (e.g., Dowe 1992c, Kitcher 1989) of his (1984) theory of causality, and has offered a revised theory which, he argues, is not open to those criticisms. The key change concerns the characterization of causal processes, where Salmon has traded "the capacity for mark transmission" for "the transmission of an invariant quantity." Salmon argues against the view presented in Dowe (1992c), namely that the concept of "possession of a conserved (...) quantity" is sufficient to account for the difference between causal and pseudo processes. Here that view is defended, and important questions are raised about the notion of transmission and about gerrymandered aggregates. (shrink)
John Dupré (1984) has recently criticized the theory of probabilistic causality developed by, among others, Good (1961-62), Suppes (1970), Cartwright (1979), and Skyrms (1980). He argues that there is a tension or incompatibility between one of its central requirements for the presence of a causal connection, on the one hand, and a feature of the theory pointed out by Elliott Sober and me (1983), on the other. He also argues that the requirement just alluded to should be given up. (...) I defend the theory against Dupré's criticisms and conclude with comments on Dupré's appraisal of the bearing of his arguments on the nature of probabilistic causal laws. (shrink)
Mathias Frisch has argued that the requirement that electromagnetic dispersion processes are causal adds empirical content not found in electrodynamic theory. I urge that this attempt to reconstitute a local principle of causality in physics fails. An independent principle is not needed to recover the results of dispersion theory. The use of ‘causality conditions’ proves to be the mere adding of causal labels to an already presumed fact. If instead one seeks a broader, independently formulated grounding for the (...) conditions, that grounding either fails or dissolves into vagueness and ambiguity, as has traditionally been the fate of candidate principles of causality. Introduction Scattering in Classical Electrodynamics Sufficiency of the Physics Failure of the Principle of Causality Proposed 4.1 A sometimes principle 4.2 The conditions of applicability are obscure 4.3 Effects can come before their causes 4.4 Vagueness of the relata and of the notion of causal process Conclusion CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Philosophers of mind have long been interested in the relation between two ideas: that causality plays an essential role in our understanding of the mental; and that we can gain an understanding of belief and desire by considering the ascription of attitudes to people on the basis of what they say and do. Many have thought that those ideas are incompatible. William Child argues that there is in fact no tension between them, and that we should accept both. He (...) shows how we can have a causal understanding of the mental without having to see attitudes and experiences as internal, causally interacting entities and he defends this view against influential objections. The book offers detailed discussions of many of Donald Davidson's contributions to the philosophy of mind, and also considers the work of Dennett, Anscombe, McDowell, and Rorty, among others. Issues discussed include: the nature of intentional phenomena; causal explanation; the character of visual experience; psychological explanation; and the causal relevance of mental properties. (shrink)
This paper suggests an integration of Wesley Salmon's mechanistic theory of causality with a manipulative account of causation of the kind that has been recently defended by Huw Price and Peter Menzies. Firstly, Salmon's view of causality is outlined, and the main issues of the debate around it are recollected. Secondly, the manipulative view of causality is sketched and the possibility of its integration with Salmon's theory is considered for the purpose of coping with some of the (...) problems raised by its critics. (shrink)
This study assesses the causal relationship between corporate social performance (CSP) and financial performance (FP). We perform our empirical analyses on a sample of 179 publicly held Canadian firms and use the measures of CSP provided by Canadian Social Investment Database for the years 2004 and 2005. Using the “Granger causality” approach, we find no significant relationship between a composite measure of a firm’s CSP and FP, except for market returns. However, using individual measures of CSP, we find a (...) robust significant negative impact of the environmental dimension of CSP and three measures of FP, namely return on assets, return on equity, and market returns. This latter finding is consistent, at least in the short run, with the trade-off hypothesis and, in part, with the negative synergy hypothesis which states that socially responsible firms experience lower profits and reduced shareholder wealth, which in turn limits the socially responsible investments. (shrink)
It is claimed that the `problem of the arrow of time in classical dynamics' has been solved. Since all classical particles have a self-field (gravitational and in some cases also electromagnetic), their dynamics must include self-interaction. This fact and the observation that the domain of validity of classical physics is restricted to distances not less than of the order of a Compton wavelength (thus excluding point particles), leads to the conclusion that the fundamental classical equations of motion are not invariant (...) under time reversal: retarded self-interactions lead to different equations than advanced ones. Since causality (the time order of cause and effect) requires retarded rather than advanced self-interaction, it is causality which is ultimately responsible for the arrow of time. Classical motions described by equations with advanced self-interactions differ from retarded ones and do not occur in nature. (shrink)
We argue that the health sciences make causal claims on the basis of evidence both of physical mechanisms and of probabilistic dependencies. Consequently, an analysis of causality solely in terms of physical mechanisms, or solely in terms of probabilistic relationships, does not do justice to the causal claims of these sciences. Yet there seems to be a single relation of cause in these sciences—pluralism about causality will not do either. Instead, we maintain, the health sciences require a theory (...) of causality that unifies its mechanistic and probabilistic aspects. We argue that the epistemic theory of causality provides the required unification. (shrink)
The paper begins with a discussion of Russell's view that the notion of cause is unnecessary for science and can therefore be eliminated. It is argued that this is true for theoretical physics but untrue for medicine, where the notion of cause plays a central role. Medical theories are closely connected with practical action (attempts to cure and prevent disease), whereas theoretical physics is more remote from applications. This suggests the view that causal laws are appropriate in a context where (...) there is a close connection to action. This leads to a development of an action-related theory of causality which is similar to the agency theory of Menzies and Price, but differs from it in a number of respects, one of which is the following. Menzies and Price connect ‘A causes B’ with an action to produce B by instantiating A, but, particularly in the case of medicine, the law can also be linked to the action of trying to avoid B by ensuring that A is not instantiated. The action-related theory has in common with the agency theory of Menzies and Price the ability to explain causal asymmetry in a simple fashion, but the introduction of avoidance actions together with some ideas taken from Russell enable some of the objections to agency accounts of causality to be met. Introduction Russell on causality Preliminary exposition of the action-related theory Differences between the action-related theory and the agency theory of Menzies and Price Explanation of causal asymmetry Objections to the action-related theory Extension of the theory to the indeterminate case. (shrink)
The idea that causation can be reduced to transmission of an amount of some conserved quantity between events is spelled out and defended against important objections. Transmission is understood as a symmetrical relation of copresence in two distinct events. The actual asymmetry of causality has its origin in the asymmetrical character of certain irreversible physical processes and then spreads through the causal net. This conception is compatible with the possibility of backwards causation and with a causal theory of time. (...) Genidentity, the persistence of concrete objects, can be given an explanation in causal terms. The transmission theory is shown to escape difficulties faced by two important alternative theories of causation: Salmon's (1984) Mark Transmission Theory and Dowe's (1992a) Conserved Quantities Theory. (shrink)
From dynamic disbeliefs to causality and chance Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9478-0 Authors Ilkka Niiniluoto, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, 00014 Finland Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
I put forward several desiderata that a philosophical theory of causality should satisfy: it should account for the objectivity of causality, it should underpin formalisms for causal reasoning, it should admit a viable epistemology, it should be able to cope with the great variety of causal claims that are made, and it should be ontologically parsimonious. I argue that Nancy Cartwright’s dispositional account of causality goes part way towards meeting these criteria but is lacking in important respects. (...) I go on to argue that my epistemic account, which ties causal relationships to an agent’s knowledge and ignorance, performs well in the light of the desiderata. Such an account, I claim, is all we require from a theory of causality. (shrink)
The philosophers of science who viewed causality as a metaphysical headache were right. Yet when they concluded that it is of no scientific import and of less practical import, they were clearly in error. I say clearly because they thereby recommended that we replace cause by mere empirical correlation, which obviously will not do. Here is an obvious example which proves them in error without even touching upon the question of what science is.
This paper presents the econometric approach to causal modeling. It is motivated by policy problems. New causal parameters are defined and identified to address specific policy problems. Economists embrace a scientific approach to causality and model the preferences and choices of agents to infer subjective (agent) evaluations as well as objective outcomes. Anticipated and realized subjective and objective outcomes are distinguished. Models for simultaneous causality are developed. The paper contrasts the Neyman-Rubin model of causality with the econometric (...) approach. (shrink)
Eric Watkins argues that according to Kant, causation is not a relation between two events, but a relation between the “causality” of a substance and an event. It is shown that his arguments are partly based on a confusion between causation and interaction. Further, Watkins claims that for Kant, causes cannot be temporally determined. If this were true, it would follow that there can be no causal chains, and that all factors that determine the time when an effect occurs (...) do not belong to its cause. However, it is not true. In order to understand Kant, one must distinguish between causation, action, and interaction. When two substances interact, each of them does something (an event), which causes something to happen to the other one. (shrink)
A theory of causality based upon physical processes is developed. Causal processes are distinguished from pseudo-processes by means of a criterion of mark transmission. Causal interactions are characterized as those intersections of processes in which the intersecting processes are mutually modified in ways which persist beyond the point of intersection. Causal forks of three kinds (conjunctive, interactive, and perfect) are introduced to explicate the principle of the common cause. Causal forks account for the production of order and modifications of (...) order; causal processes account for the propagation of causal influence. (shrink)
In an earlier paper (Dupré 1984), I criticized a thesis sometimes defended by theorists of probabilistic causality, namely, that a probabilistic cause must raise the probability of its effect in every possible set of causally relevant background conditions (the "contextual unanimity thesis"). I also suggested that a more promising analysis of probabilistic causality might be sought in terms of statistical relevance in a fair sample. Ellery Eells (1987) has defended the contextual unanimity thesis against my objections, and also (...) raised objections of his own to my positive claims. In this paper I defend and amplify both my objections to the contextual unanimity thesis and my constructive suggestion. (shrink)
Eric Watkins argues that a grasp of Leibnizian and anti-Leibnizian thought in eighteenth-century Germany helps one to see how Kant (in his critical period) argued for causal principles that have both metaphysical and epistemological elements. According to this interpretation, Kant's model of causality does not consist of events, but rather of substances endowed with causal powers that are exercised according to their natures and circumstances.
This paper examines the relationship between causality and intrinsicality. Construed in one way, that relationship can be defended against some proposed counterexamples. However, I argue that trumping cases pose a more serious, if not fatal, problem. I then examine an alternative way of thinking about the relationship, but suggest that this too meets the same fate.
Causal conditional reasoning means reasoning from a conditional statement that refers to causal content. We argue that data from causal conditional reasoning tasks tell us something not only about how people interpret conditionals, but also about how they interpret causal relations. In particular, three basic principles of people's causal understanding emerge from previous studies: the modal principle, the exhaustive principle, and the equivalence principle. Restricted to the four classic conditional inferences—Modus Ponens, Modus Tollens, Denial of the Antecedent, and Affirmation of (...) the Consequent—causal conditional reasoning data are only partially able to support these principles. We present three experiments that use concrete and abstract causal scenarios and combine inference tasks with a new type of task in which people reformulate a given causal situation. The results provide evidence for the proposed representational principles. Implications for theories of the na ve understanding of causality are discussed. (shrink)
In this paper I offer an anti-Humean critique to Williamson and Russo’s approach to medical mechanisms. I focus on one of the specific claims made by Williamson and Russo, namely the claim that micro-structural ‘mechanisms’ provide evidence for the stability across populations of causal relationships ascertained at the (macro-) level of (test) populations. This claim is grounded in the epistemic account of causality developed by Williamson, an account which—while not relying exclusively on mechanistic evidence for justifying causal judgements—appeals nevertheless (...) to mechanisms, and rejects their anti-Humean interpretation in terms of capacities, powers, potencies, etc. By using (and expanding on) Cartwright’s basic critique against Humean mechanisms, I suggest that, in order to move beyond the level of plausibility, Williamson and Russo’s position is in need of a clarification as to the occurent reading of the components, functioning and interferences of mechanisms. Relatedly, as concerns Williamson’s epistemic account of causation, I argue that this account is in need of a more straightforward answer as to what truth-makers its causal claims should have. (shrink)
After clarifying the probabilistic conception of causality suggested by Good (1961-2), Suppes (1970), Cartwright (1979), and Skyrms (1980), we prove a sufficient condition for transitivity of causal chains. The bearing of these considerations on the units of selection problem in evolutionary theory and on the Newcomb paradox in decision theory is then discussed.
It is tempting to analyse causality in terms of just one of the indicators of causal relationships, e.g., mechanisms, probabilistic dependencies or independencies, counterfactual conditionals or agency considerations. While such an analysis will surely shed light on some aspect of our concept of cause, it will fail to capture the whole, rather multifarious, notion. So one might instead plump for pluralism: a different analysis for a different occasion. But we do not seem to have lots of different concepts of (...) cause just one eclectic notion. The resolution of this conundrum, I think, requires us to accept that our causal beliefs are generated by a wide variety of indicators, but to deny that this variety of indicators yields a variety of concepts of cause. This focus on the relation between evidence and causal beliefs leads to what I call epistemic causality. Under this view, certain causal beliefs are appropriate or rational on the basis of observed evidence; our notion of cause can be understood purely in terms of these rational beliefs. Causality, then, is a feature of our epistemic representation of the world, rather than of the world itself. This yields one, multifaceted notion of cause. (shrink)
I argue that much of current concern with the role of causality and strong emergence in natural processes is based upon an unreasonable expectation placed on our ability to formalize scientific knowledge. In most disciplines our formalization ability is an expectation rather than a scientific result. This calls for an empirical approach to the study of causation and emergence. Finally, I suggest that for advances in complexity research to occur, attention needs to be paid to understanding what role computation (...) plays in this experimental approach. (shrink)
Two experiments were conducted to investigate the roles of covariation and of causality in people's readiness to believe a conditional. The experiments used a probabilistic truth-table task (Oberauer & Wilhelm, 2003) in which people estimated the probability of a conditional given information about the frequency distribution of truth-table cases. For one group of people, belief in the conditional was determined by the conditional probability of the consequent, given the antecedent, whereas for another group it depended on the probability of (...) the conjunction of antecedent and consequent. There was little evidence that covariation, expressed as the probabilistic contrast or as the pCI rule (White, 2003), influences belief in the conditional. The explicit presence of a causal link between antecedent and consequent in a context story had a weak positive effect on belief in a conditional when the frequency distribution of relevant cases was held constant. (shrink)
This paper deals with causal analysis in the social sciences. We first present a conceptual framework according to which causal analysis is based on a rationale of variation and invariance, and not only on regularity. We then develop a formal framework for causal analysis by means of structural modelling. Within this framework we approach causality in terms of exogeneity in a structural conditional model based which is based on (i) congruence with background knowledge, (ii) invariance under a large variety (...) of environmental changes, and (iii) model fit. We also tackle the issue of confounding and show how latent confounders can play havoc with exogeneity. This framework avoids making untestable metaphysical claims about causal relations and yet remains useful for cognitive and action-oriented goals. (shrink)
A previous paper of mine, that criticized Suppes' probabilistic theory of causality, was in turn criticized by Deborah Rosen. This paper is a development of my argument and an answer to Rosen. It is argued that the concept of causation is used in contemporary science in a way that presupposes determinism. It is shown that deterministic assumptions are necessary for inferences from generic to individual causal relations and for various kinds of eliminative arguments.
Generic versus single-case causality: the case of autopsy Content Type Journal Article Category Original Paper in Philosophy of Science Pages 47-69 DOI 10.1007/s13194-010-0012-4 Authors Federica Russo, Philosophy–SECL, University of Kent, CT2 7NF Canterbury, UK Jon Williamson, Philosophy–SECL, University of Kent, CT2 7NF Canterbury, UK Journal European Journal for Philosophy of Science Online ISSN 1879-4920 Print ISSN 1879-4912 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 1.