We argue that Madole & Harden's distinction between shallow versus deep genetic causes can bring some clarity to causal claims arising from genome-wide association studies (GWASs). However, the authors argue that GWAS only finds shallow genetic causes, making GWAS commensurate with the environmental studies they hope to supplant. We also assess whether their distinction applies best to explanations or causes.
This paper analyzes the idea of robust moral realism through a comparative analysis against metaphysical naturalism. I argue that the attractiveness of metaphysical naturalism outshines robust realism making the view prima facie unattractive. Firstly, I will discuss the arguments from queerness and present an appealing conception of the argument from a naturalistic worldview to show that moral properties probably don’t exist. Afterwards, I will examine the non-naturalist commitment to the causal efficacy of moral properties and its significance with respect to (...) our ordinary account of putative moral practice. Lastly, I will argue that robust realism doesn’t have the tools to provide a satisfactory answer to the moral supervenience challenge. The charge on these fronts should stand to show that we have good reason to reject moral non-naturalism and accept what comes natural to us. (shrink)
Just as the six branches of a snow crystal converge in regular proportions toward their common center, the six contributions to this book point toward a future philosophy of cosmic life. In this sense, this edited volume represents a multidisciplinary and transcultural polylogue of distinguished authors from three continents, which aims to establish highly innovative perspectives and open new frontiers of developing philosophical reflections and scientific foundations for the emergence of a common cosmic consciousness, for an integral ecology, and for (...) a cooperative planetary civilization of humanity. John B. Cobb, Jr. uses a process-philosophical foundation to describe life as living events expressing novelty and the cosmos as a process of self-enriching and self-evolving “Life Itself.” Chandra Wickramasinghe unfolds his scientific and philosophical perspective on cosmic life in twelve successive steps, offering a wide range of arguments and insights that support an up-to-date theory of panspermia. Attila Grandpierre presents the "Cosmic Life Principle" and the comprehensive science based upon it that is inextricably linked to the healthy and cooperative civilization, to the biological laws of nature, to the laws of logic, to the uplifting of the well-being of people and ecological communities. Chunyou Yan introduces the approach of his holographic philosophy, according to which the universe must be understood as a vast living entity, every aspect of which represents life. Bei Peng shows that the proportions of energy meridians in traditional Chinese medicine correspond to musical intervals, and on this basis she demonstrates the analogy of the human body to macrocosmic phenomena. David Bartosch offers an examination of three important systematic foundations for a poly-contextural, transcultural philosophy of cosmic life with roots in Greek, Chinese, South and West Asian, and European traditions of thought. (shrink)
There is an important but unorthodox view within the philosophy of action that when it comes to certain mental actions of a person—her decisions and choices—these actions cannot be caused by her beliefs and desires or by any prior event or state of her at all. The reason for this, it is said, is that there is something in the very nature of a person’s decisions and choices that entails that they cannot be caused in this way. The arguments for (...) this view, however, have largely gone unexamined. This paper, therefore, critically examines the arguments that have been proposed for this view. It concludes, however, that they are unpersuasive. There is, as yet, no good reason offered as to why we should think that decisions and choices must be uncaused by prior events or states of the agent. (shrink)
I argue for responsibility internalism. That is, moral responsibility (i.e., accountability, or being apt for praise or blame) depends only on factors internal to agents. Employing this view, I also argue that no one is responsible for what AI does but this isn’t morally problematic in a way that counts against developing or using AI. Responsibility is grounded in three potential conditions: the control (or freedom) condition, the epistemic (or awareness) condition, and the causal responsibility condition (or consequences). I argue (...) that causal responsibility is irrelevant for moral responsibility, and that the control condition and the epistemic condition depend only on factors internal to agents. Moreover, since what AI does is at best a consequence of our actions, and the consequences of our actions are irrelevant to our responsibility, no one is responsible for what AI does. That is, the so-called responsibility gap exits. However, this isn’t morally worrisome for developing or using AI. Firstly, I argue, current AI doesn’t generate a new kind of concern about responsibility that the older technologies don’t. Then, I argue that responsibility gap is not worrisome because neither responsibility gap, nor my argument for its existence, entails that no one can be justly punished, held accountable, or incurs duties in reparations when AI causes a harm. (shrink)
This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work. This work is in the public domain (...) in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant. (shrink)
I defend counterfactual decision theory, which says that you should evaluate an action in terms of which outcomes would likely obtain were you to perform it. Counterfactual decision theory has traditionally been subsumed under causal decision theory as a particular formulation of the latter. This is a mistake. Counterfactual decision theory is importantly different from, and superior to, causal decision theory, properly so called. Causation and counterfactuals come apart in three kinds of cases. In cases of overdetermination, an action can (...) cause a good outcome without the latter counterfactually depending on the former. In cases of constitution, an action can constitute a good outcome rather than causing it. And in cases of determinism, either the laws or the past counterfactually depend on your action, even though your action cannot cause the laws or the past to be different. In each of these cases, it is counterfactual decision theory which gives the right verdict, and for the right reasons. (shrink)
Race and nationality.--Ancients and moderns.--Liberty.--Ultimate facts in economics.--Auto-suggestion.--Nervous tri-unity.--The laws of the mind.--The brain as a laboratory.--Time and space.--Vocabulary and grammar.--Logic.--Motives and feelings.--Free will, trial, and choice.--The foundations of morality.--The development of art.--Amusement.
This dissertation begins by addressing the question of when a causal model is apt for deciding questions of actual causation with respect to some target situation. I first provide relevant background about causal models, explain what makes them promising as a tool for analyzing actual causation, and motivate the need for a theory of aptness as part of such an analysis (Chapter 1). I then define what it is for a model on a given interpretation to be accurate of, that (...) is, say only true things about, some target situation. This involves a systematization of various representational principles mentioned and/or discussed throughout the literature into a method of interpretation, which I propose be taken as standard (Chapter 2). Next, I explain and address two reasons for which accuracy as I’ve defined it is insufficient for aptness. The first reason – already discussed in the literature – is the problem of structural isomorphs. In response, I propose the aptness condition of Explicit Partial Mediation (Chapter 3). The second reason – which has yet to be noticed – is the problem of the indeterminacy of accuracy. As I demonstrate, a model is accurate of a target situation only relative to a set of background possibilities – what I call a modal profile. It follows that a model represents a situation only relative to some modal profile or other. I go on to discuss the ramifications of this observation for a theory of actual causation in terms of models. I argue that the relativity be taken at face value and built into our metaphysical account of causation, resulting in a view that I call causal relativism (Chapter 4). I explore one advantage of this view in detail: that the resulting account can defend the principle of strong proportionality against several objections (Chapter 5). Finally, I apply the earlier discussion of aptness to attempts to provide a semantics of counterfactuals in terms of causal models – an interventionist semantics. I show how just as a similarity semantics relies on an opaque notion of similarity, an interventionist semantics relies on an analogous notion of aptness. The challenge of articulating aptness thus undermines the claim that an interventionist semantics avoids representational problems inherent in a similarity semantics (Chapter 6). I close with a recap and suggestions for future research (Chapter 7). -/- . (shrink)
This paper introduces and defends a new principle for when a structural equation model is apt for analyzing actual causation. Any such analysis in terms of these models has two components: a recipe for reading claims of actual causation off an apt model, and an articulation of what makes a model apt. The primary focus in the literature has been on the first component. But the problem of structural isomorphs has made the second especially pressing (Hall 2007; Hitchcock 2007a). Those (...) with realist sympathies have reason to resist the standard response to this problem, which introduces a normative parameter into the metaphysics (Hall 2007; Halpern and Hitchcock 2010, 2015; Halpern 2016a; Menzies 2017; Gallow 2021). However, the only alternative solution in the literature leaves central questions unanswered (Blanchard and Schaffer 2017). I propose an independently motivated aptness requirement, Evident Mediation, that provides the missing details and resolves the structural isomorph problem without need for a normative parameter. (shrink)
I show how Sir William Rowan Hamilton’s philosophical commitments led him to a causal interpretation of classical mechanics. I argue that Hamilton’s metaphysics of causation was injected into his dynamics by way of a causal interpretation of force. I then detail how forces are indispensable to both Hamilton’s formulation of classical mechanics and what we now call Hamiltonian mechanics (i.e., the modern formulation). On this point, my efforts primarily consist of showing that the contemporary orthodox interpretation of potential energy is (...) the interpretation found in Hamilton’s work. Hamilton called the potential energy function the “force-function” because he believed that it represents forces at work in the world. Various non-historical arguments for this orthodox interpretation of potential energy are provided, and matters are concluded by showing that in classical Hamiltonian mechanics, facts about the potential energies of systems are grounded in facts about forces. Thus, if one can tolerate the view that forces are causes of motion, then Hamilton provides one with a road map for transporting causation into one of the most mathematically sophisticated formulations of classical mechanics, viz., Hamiltonian mechanics. (shrink)
Analyzing causation in terms of Woodward's interventionist theory and describing the structure of the world in terms of causal powers are usually regarded as quite different projects in contemporary philosophy. Interventionists aim to give an account of how causal relations can be empirically discovered and described, without committing themselves to views about what causation really is. Causal powers theorists engage in precisely the latter project, aiming to describe the metaphysical structure of the world. In this paper, I argue that interventionism (...) can benefit from incorporating considerations about causal powers. I describe a previously undiscussed problem for Woodward's definition of an intervention variable that arises when interventionist causal models include disjunctive variables. This problem is solved not by excluding disjunctive (or logically compound) variables per se, but by excluding variables whose values represent disjunctions of too different causal powers. This suggests that interventionism and causal powers theories may be less distant from each other than is often assumed. (shrink)
This chapter looks at Schopenhauer’s philosophy of science. In particular, it examines Schopenhauer’s conception of scientific explanation and his argument that this mode of explanation is essentially incapable of yielding understanding of the world. In so doing, the chapter considers relations between Schopenhauer’s views and modern debates over mechanism that occupied such figures as Leibniz, Newton, and Kant. It also considers Schopenhauer’s conception of explanation in light of modern rationalist theories of understanding. The chapter concludes by examining and assessing Schopenhauer’s (...) view of the relation between the sciences and his metaphysics of will. (shrink)