Alexander Gebharter
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Supporters of the autonomy of higher-level causation (or explanation) often appeal to proportionality, arguing that higher-level causes are more proportional than their lower-level realizers. Recently, measures based on information theory and causal modeling have been proposed that allow one to shed new light on proportionality and the related notion of specificity. In this paper we apply ideas from this literature to the issue of higher vs. lower-level causation (and explanation). Surprisingly, proportionality turns out to be irrelevant for the question of whether higher-level causes (or explanations) can be autonomous; specificity is a much more informative notion for this purpose.
Keywords causation  proportionality  explanation  specificity  causal modeling  information theory  causal Bayesian networks  levels  mental causation  supervenience
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DOI 10.1086/714818
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