Synthese (10):4101-4131 (2017)

Authors
Hugh Desmond
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Abstract
Path-dependence offers a promising way of understanding the role historicity plays in explanation, namely, how the past states of a process can matter in the explanation of a given outcome. The two main existing accounts of path-dependence have sought to present it either in terms of dynamic landscapes or branching trees. However, the notions of landscape and tree both have serious limitations and have been criticized. The framework of causal networks is both more fundamental and more general that that of landscapes and trees. Within this framework, I propose that historicity in networks should be understood as symmetry breaking. History matters when an asymmetric bias towards an outcome emerges in a causal network. This permits a quantitative measure for how path-dependence can occur in degrees, and offers suggestive insights into how historicity is intertwined both with causal structure and complexity.
Keywords Path-dependence  Explanation  Historicity  Symmetry  Causal networks  Mutual information
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2017
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-016-1130-0
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):201-202.
Wonderful Life; The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History.Stephen Jay Gould - 1992 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 23 (2):359-360.

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Historicity and Ecological Restoration.Eric Desjardins - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (1):77-98.
A Model of Path-Dependence in Decisions Over Multiple Propositions.Christian List - 2004 - American Political Science Review 98 (3):495-513.
Historicity and Experimental Evolution.Eric Desjardins - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (3):339-364.
Path Dependence in the Production of Scientific Knowledge.Mark S. Peacock - 2009 - Social Epistemology 23 (2):105 – 124.
Les Brisures de Symetrie du Temps.Alexandre Laforgue - 1994 - Acta Biotheoretica 42 (1):105-117.
Les Brisures de Symetrie du Temps.Alexandre Laforgue - 1993 - Acta Biotheoretica 41 (1-2):105-117.
Two Kinds of Causal Explanation.George Botterill - 2010 - Theoria 76 (4):287-313.
Truth-Makers and Dependence.David Liggins - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality. Cambridge University Press. pp. 254.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2016-06-03

Total views
62 ( #182,478 of 2,499,278 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #67,515 of 2,499,278 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes