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Profile: James Woodward (University of Pittsburgh)
  1. James Woodward (2003). Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation. Oxford University Press.
    Woodward's long awaited book is an attempt to construct a comprehensive account of causation explanation that applies to a wide variety of causal and explanatory claims in different areas of science and everyday life. The book engages some of the relevant literature from other disciplines, as Woodward weaves together examples, counterexamples, criticisms, defenses, objections, and replies into a convincing defense of the core of his theory, which is that we can analyze causation by appeal to the notion of manipulation.
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  2. James Woodward (2010). Causation in Biology: Stability, Specificity, and the Choice of Levels of Explanation. Biology and Philosophy 25 (3):287-318.
    This paper attempts to elucidate three characteristics of causal relationships that are important in biological contexts. Stability has to do with whether a causal relationship continues to hold under changes in background conditions. Proportionality has to do with whether changes in the state of the cause “line up” in the right way with changes in the state of the effect and with whether the cause and effect are characterized in a way that contains irrelevant detail. Specificity is connected both (...)
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  3. James Woodward (2000). Explanation and Invariance in the Special Sciences. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (2):197-254.
    This paper describes an alternative to the common view that explanation in the special sciences involves subsumption under laws. According to this alternative, whether or not a generalization can be used to explain has to do with whether it is invariant rather than with whether it is lawful. A generalization is invariant if it is stable or robust in the sense that it would continue to hold under a relevant if it is stable or robust in the sense that it (...)
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  4.  80
    James Woodward (2015). Interventionism and Causal Exclusion. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (2):303-347.
    A number of writers, myself included, have recently argued that an “interventionist” treatment of causation of the sort defended in Woodward, 2003 can be used to cast light on so-called “causal exclusion” arguments. This interventionist treatment of causal exclusion has in turn been criticized by other philosophers. This paper responds to these criticisms. It describes an interventionist framework for thinking about causal relationships when supervenience relations are present. I contend that this framework helps us to see that standard arguments for (...)
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  5.  90
    James Woodward (2013). Mechanistic Explanation: Its Scope and Limits. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):39-65.
    This paper explores the question of whether all or most explanations in biology are, or ideally should be, ‘mechanistic’. I begin by providing an account of mechanistic explanation, making use of the interventionist ideas about causation I have developed elsewhere. This account emphasizes the way in which mechanistic explanations, at least in the biological sciences, integrate difference-making and spatio-temporal information, and exhibit what I call fine-tunedness of organization. I also emphasize the role played by modularity conditions in mechanistic explanation. I (...)
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  6. James Woodward & Christopher Hitchcock (2003). Explanatory Generalizations, Part I: A Counterfactual Account. Noûs 37 (1):1–24.
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  7. James Bogen & James Woodward (1988). Saving the Phenomena. Philosophical Review 97 (3):303-352.
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  8. Terence E. Horgan & James F. Woodward (1985). Folk Psychology is Here to Stay. Philosophical Review 94 (April):197-225.
  9. Christopher Hitchcock & James Woodward (2003). Explanatory Generalizations, Part II: Plumbing Explanatory Depth. Noûs 37 (2):181–199.
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  10. James Woodward (2008). Mental Causation and Neural Mechanisms. In Jakob Hohwy & Jesper Kallestrup (eds.), Being Reduced: New Essays on Reduction, Explanation, and Causation. Oxford University Press
    This paper discusses some issues concerning the relationship between the mental and the physical, including the so-called causal exclusion argument, within the framework of a broadly interventionist approach to causation.
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  11. James Woodward (2002). There is No Such Thing as a Ceteris Paribus Law. Erkenntnis 57 (3):303Ð328.
    In this paper I criticize the commonly accepted idea that the generalizations of the special sciences should be construed as ceteris paribus laws. This idea rests on mistaken assumptions about the role of laws in explanation and their relation to causal claims. Moreover, the major proposals in the literature for the analysis of ceteris paribus laws are, on their own terms, complete failures. I sketch a more adequate alternative account of the content of causal generalizations in the special sciences which (...)
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  12.  99
    James Woodward (2011). Mechanisms Revisited. Synthese 183 (3):409-427.
    This paper defends an interventionist treatment of mechanisms and contrasts this with Waskan (forthcoming). Interventionism embodies a difference-making conception of causation. I contrast such conceptions with geometrical/mechanical or “actualist” conceptions, associating Waskan’s proposals with the latter. It is argued that geometrical/mechanical conceptions of causation cannot replace difference-making conceptions in characterizing the behavior of mechanisms, but that some of the intuitions behind the geometrical/mechanical approach can be captured by thinking in terms of spatio-temporally organized difference-making information.
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  13.  18
    James Woodward (forthcoming). The Problem of Variable Choice. Synthese:1-26.
    This paper explores some issues about the choice of variables for causal representation and explanation. Depending on which variables a researcher employs, many causal inference procedures and many treatments of causation will reach different conclusions about which causal relationships are present in some system of interest. The assumption of this paper is that some choices of variables are superior to other choices for the purpose of causal analysis. A number of possible criteria for variable choice are described and defended within (...)
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  14. James Woodward (2015). Methodology, Ontology, and Interventionism. Synthese 192 (11):3577-3599.
    This paper defends an interventionist account of causation by construing this account as a contribution to methodology, rather than as a set of theses about the ontology or metaphysics of causation. It also uses the topic of causation to raise some more general issues about the relation between, on the one hand, methodology, and, on the other hand, ontology and metaphysics, as these are understood in contemporary philosophical discussion, particularly among so-called analytic metaphysicians. It concludes with the suggestion that issues (...)
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  15.  40
    James Woodward (2006). Sensitive and Insensitive Causation. Philosophical Review 115 (1):1-50.
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  16. James Woodward, Causation and Manipulability. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Manipulablity theories of causation, according to which causes are to be regarded as handles or devices for manipulating effects, have considerable intuitive appeal and are popular among social scientists and statisticians. This article surveys several prominent versions of such theories advocated by philosophers, and the many difficulties they face. Philosophical statements of the manipulationist approach are generally reductionist in aspiration and assign a central role to human action. These contrast with recent discussions employing a broadly manipulationist framework for understanding causation, (...)
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  17. James Woodward (2007). Causation with a Human Face. In Huw Price & Richard Corry (eds.), Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell's Republic Revisited. Oxford University Press
    What is the relationship between, on the one hand, the sorts of causal claims found in the special sciences (and in common sense) and, on the other hand, the world as described by physics? A standard picture goes like this: the fundamental laws of physics are causal laws in the sense that they can be interpreted as telling us that realizations of one set of physical factors or properties “causes” realizations of other properties. Causal claims in the special sciences are (...)
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  18.  47
    James Woodward (2014). A Functional Account of Causation; or, A Defense of the Legitimacy of Causal Thinking by Reference to the Only Standard That Matters—Usefulness. Philosophy of Science 81 (5):691-713.
    This essay advocates a “functional” approach to causation and causal reasoning: these are to be understood in terms of the goals and purposes of causal thinking. This approach is distinguished from accounts based on metaphysical considerations or on reconstruction of “intuitions.”.
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  19.  11
    James Woodward, Causation in Science.
    This article discusses some philosophical theories of causation and their application to several areas of science. Topics addressed include regularity, counterfactual, and causal process theories of causation; the causal interpretation of structural equation models and directed graphs; independence assumptions in causal reasoning; and the role of causal concepts in physics. In connection with this last topic, this article focuses on the relationship between causal asymmetries, the time-reversal invariance of most fundamental physical laws, and the significance of differences among varieties of (...)
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  20.  4
    James Woodward, Explanation in Neurobiology: An Interventionist Perspective.
    This paper employs an interventionist framework to elucidate some issues having to do with explanation in neurobiology and with the differences between mechanistic and non-mechanistic explanations.
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  21.  18
    James Woodward, A Functional Account of Causation.
    This essay advocates a “functional” approach to causation and causal reasoning: these are to be understood in terms of the goals and purposes of causal thinking. This approach is distinguished from accounts based on metaphysical considerations or on reconstruction of “intuitions”.
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  22.  57
    Daniel M. Hausman & James Woodward (2004). Modularity and the Causal Markov Condition: A Restatement. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (1):147-161.
    expose some gaps and difficulties in the argument for the causal Markov condition in our essay ‘Independence, Invariance and the Causal Markov Condition’ ([1999]), and we are grateful for the opportunity to reformulate our position. In particular, Cartwright disagrees vigorously with many of the theses we advance about the connection between causation and manipulation. Although we are not persuaded by some of her criticisms, we shall confine ourselves to showing how our central argument can be reconstructed and to casting doubt (...)
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  23.  63
    Leah Henderson, Noah D. Goodman, Joshua B. Tenenbaum & James F. Woodward (2010). The Structure and Dynamics of Scientific Theories: A Hierarchical Bayesian Perspective. Philosophy of Science 77 (2):172-200.
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  24. James Woodward (1986). The Non-Identity Problem. Ethics 96 (4):804-831.
  25.  46
    James Woodward (2006). Sensitive and Insensitive Causation. Philosophical Review 115 (1):1-50.
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  26. James Woodward & John Allman (2007). Moral Intuition: Its Neural Substrates and Normative Significance. Journal of Physiology-Paris 101 (4-6):179-202.
    We use the phrase "moral intuition" to describe the appearance in consciousness of moral judgments or assessments without any awareness of having gone through a conscious reasoning process that produces this assessment. This paper investigates the neural substrates of moral intuition. We propose that moral intuitions are part of a larger set of social intuitions that guide us through complex, highly uncertain and rapidly changing social interactions. Such intuitions are shaped by learning. The neural substrates for moral intuition include fronto-insular, (...)
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  27.  8
    Elizabeth Baraff Bonawitz, Darlene Ferranti, Rebecca Saxe, Alison Gopnik, Andrew N. Meltzoff, James Woodward & Laura E. Schulz (2010). Just Do It? Investigating the Gap Between Prediction and Action in Toddlers’ Causal Inferences. Cognition 115 (1):104-117.
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  28. James Woodward (1979). Scientific Explanation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 30 (1):41-67.
    Issues concerning scientific explanation have been a focus of philosophical attention from Pre- Socratic times through the modern period. However, recent discussion really begins with the development of the Deductive-Nomological (DN) model. This model has had many advocates (including Popper 1935, 1959, Braithwaite 1953, Gardiner, 1959, Nagel 1961) but unquestionably the most detailed and influential statement is due to Carl Hempel (Hempel 1942, 1965, and Hempel & Oppenheim 1948). These papers and the reaction to them have structured subsequent discussion concerning (...)
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  29. James F. Woodward (2011). Data and Phenomena: A Restatement and Defense. Synthese 182 (1):165-179.
    This paper provides a restatement and defense of the data/ phenomena distinction introduced by Jim Bogen and me several decades ago (e.g., Bogen and Woodward, The Philosophical Review, 303–352, 1988). Additional motivation for the distinction is introduced, ideas surrounding the distinction are clarified, and an attempt is made to respond to several criticisms.
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  30.  12
    James Woodward, Intervening in the Exclusion Argument.
    This paper discusses Peter Menzies' work on the exclusion argument. I defend an interventionist treatment of the argument that differs in some respects from the approach advocated by Menzies and Christian List.
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  31. James Woodward (2011). Causal Perception and Causal Cognition. In Johannes Roessler, Hemdat Lerman & Naomi Eilan (eds.), Perception, Causation, and Objectivity. Oxford University Press
    This paper explores some issues having to do with the perception of causation. It discusses the role that phenomena that that are associated with causal perception, such as Michottean launching interactions, play within philosophical accounts of causation and also speculates on their possible role in development.
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  32. James Woodward (2008). Cause and Explanation in Psychiatry: An Interventionist Perspective. In Kenneth S. Kendler & Josef Parnas (eds.), Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry: Explanation, Phenomenology, and Nosology. Johns Hopkins University Press
    This paper explores some issues concerning the nature and structure of causal explanation in psychiatry and psychology from the point of view of the “interventionist” theory defended in my book, Making Things Happen. Among the issues is explored is the extent to which candidate causal explanations involving “upper level” or relatively coarse-grained or macroscopic variables such as mental/psychological states (e.g. highly self critical beliefs or low self esteem) or environmental factors (e.g. parental abuse) compete with explanations that instead appeal to (...)
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  33.  45
    James Woodward (2012). Causation: Interactions Between Philosophical Theories and Psychological Research. Philosophy of Science 79 (5):961-972.
  34. James Woodward (2009). Agency and Interventionist Theories. In Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Peter Menzies (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Causation. OUP Oxford
     
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  35.  46
    James Woodward (1984). A Theory of Singular Causal Explanation. Erkenntnis 21 (3):231 - 262.
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  36. James Woodward (1992). Realism About Laws. Erkenntnis 36 (2):181-218.
    This paper explores the idea that laws express relationships between properties or universals as defended in Michael Tooley's recent book Causation: A Realist Approach. I suggest that the most plausible version of realism will take a different form than that advocated by Tooley. According to this alternative, laws are grounded in facts about the capacities and powers of particular systems, rather than facts about relations between universals. The notion of lawfulness is linked to the notion of invariance, rather than to (...)
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  37.  35
    Daniel Hausman & James Woodward (2004). Manipulation and the Causal Markov Condition. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):846-856.
    This paper explores the relationship between a manipulability conception of causation and the causal Markov condition (CM). We argue that violations of CM also violate widely shared expectations—implicit in the manipulability conception—having to do with the absence of spontaneous correlations. They also violate expectations concerning the connection between independence or dependence relationships in the presence and absence of interventions.
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  38.  7
    James Woodward, Causal Reasoning: Philosophy and Experiment.
    This paper explores some interactions between normative/ philosophical/theoretical theorizing about causation and empirical research into causal reasoning and judgment of the sort conducted by psychologists and others. I attempt to extract some general morals regarding the kinds of interactions between the empirical and the more traditionally philosophical that in my experience have been most fruitful. I also compare the experimental work on which I focus with some of the research strategies employed in experimental philosophy.
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  39.  7
    James Woodward, Emotion Versus Cognition in Moral Decision-Making: A Dubious Dichotomy.
    This paper explores, in the light of recent empirical results from neurobiology, some issues having to do with the contrast between “emotion” and “cognition” and the ways in which these figure in moral judgment and decision-making. The role of reward learning in emotional processing and the implications of this for "rationalist" moral theories is emphasized.
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  40. James Woodward (2004). Counterfactuals and Causal Explanation. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (1):41 – 72.
    This article defends the use of interventionist counterfactuals to elucidate causal and explanatory claims against criticisms advanced by James Bogen and Peter Machamer. Against Bogen, I argue that counterfactual claims concerning what would happen under interventions are meaningful and have determinate truth values, even in a deterministic world. I also argue, against both Machamer and Bogen, that we need to appeal to counterfactuals to capture the notions like causal relevance and causal mechanism. Contrary to what both authors suppose, counterfactuals are (...)
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  41.  64
    James F. Woodward & Thomas Mahood (1999). What is the Cause of Inertia? Foundations of Physics 29 (6):899-930.
    The question of the cause of inertial reaction forces and the validity of “Mach's principle” are investigated. A recent claim that the cause of inertial reaction forces can be attributed to an interaction of the electrical charge of elementary particles with the hypothetical quantum mechanical “zero-point” fluctuation electromagnetic field is shown to be untenable. It fails to correspond to reality because the coupling of electric charge to the electromagnetic field cannot be made to mimic plausibly the universal coupling of gravity (...)
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  42. James F. Woodward & Fiona Cowie (2004). The Mind is Not (Just) a System of Modules Shaped (Just) by Natural Selection. In Christopher Hitchcock (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Science. Malden MA: Blackwell Publishing 312-34.
  43.  22
    James Woodward (1989). The Causal Mechanical Model of Explanation. Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13:359-83.
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  44.  88
    James Woodward (2011). Psychological Studies of Causal and Counterfactual Reasoning. In Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack & Sarah R. Beck (eds.), Understanding Counterfactuals, Understanding Causation. Oxford University Press 16.
    Counterfactual theories of causation of the sort presented in Mackie, 1974, and Lewis, 1973 are a familiar part of the philosophical landscape. Such theories are typically advanced primarily as accounts of the metaphysics of causation. But they also raise empirical psychological issues concerning the processes and representations that underlie human causal reasoning. For example, do human subjects internally represent causal claims in terms of counterfactual judgments and when they engage in causal reasoning, does this involves reasoning about counterfactual claims? This (...)
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  45.  54
    James F. Woodward (1999). Book Review: Doubt and Certainty, by Tony Rothman and George Sudarshan. [REVIEW] Foundations of Physics 29 (5):819-843.
  46.  50
    James F. Woodward (2006). Book Review: World Without Time: The Forgotten Legacy of Gödel and Einstein. By Palle Yourgrau, Basic Books, New York, New York, USA, 2005, Viii + 210 Pp., $24 (Hard Cover). ISBN 0-465-09293-4. [REVIEW] Foundations of Physics 36 (2):321-325.
  47.  5
    James Woodward, Interventionism and the Missing Metaphysics: A Dialog.
    A number of philosophers with a metaphysical orientation have criticized Making Things Happen for its failure to provide an account of the metaphysical foundations or grounds or truth-makers for causal and explanatory claims. This dialog attempts to respond to these objections and to raise some general concerns about some of the rhetoric and argumentative strategies employed in contemporary analytic metaphysics. It also explores some issues having to do with the relationship between methodology, understood as a core concern of philosophy of (...)
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  48.  32
    James Woodward (1987). Reply to Parfit. Ethics 97 (4):800-816.
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  49. James Woodward (1985). Book Review:What Is a Law of Nature? D. M. Armstrong. [REVIEW] Ethics 95 (4):949-.
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  50.  44
    James F. Woodward (2002). Book Review: The Future of Spacetime. By Stephen W. Hawking, Kip S. Thorne, Igor Novikov, Timothy Ferris, Alan Lightman, and Richard Price. W. W. Norton, New York and London, 2002, 220 Pp., $25.95 (Hardcover). ISBN 0-393-02022-3. [REVIEW] Foundations of Physics 32 (9):1485-1491.
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