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Alexander Gebharter
University of Groningen
  1. Constitutive Relevance, Mutual Manipulability, and Fat-Handedness.Michael Baumgartner & Alexander Gebharter - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (3):731-756.
    The first part of this paper argues that if Craver’s ([2007a], [2007b]) popular mutual manipulability account (MM) of mechanistic constitution is embedded within Woodward’s ([2003]) interventionist theory of causation--for which it is explicitly designed--it either undermines the mechanistic research paradigm by entailing that there do not exist relationships of constitutive relevance or it gives rise to the unwanted consequence that constitution is a form of causation. The second part shows how Woodward’s theory can be adapted in such a way that (...)
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  2.  89
    Causality as a Theoretical Concept: Explanatory Warrant and Empirical Content of the Theory of Causal Nets.Gerhard Schurz & Alexander Gebharter - 2016 - Synthese 193 (4):1073-1103.
    We start this paper by arguing that causality should, in analogy with force in Newtonian physics, be understood as a theoretical concept that is not explicated by a single definition, but by the axioms of a theory. Such an understanding of causality implicitly underlies the well-known theory of causal nets and has been explicitly promoted by Glymour. In this paper we investigate the explanatory warrant and empirical content of TCN. We sketch how the assumption of directed cause–effect relations can be (...)
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  3. Causal Exclusion and Causal Bayes Nets.Alexander Gebharter - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):353-375.
    In this paper I reconstruct and evaluate the validity of two versions of causal exclusion arguments within the theory of causal Bayes nets. I argue that supervenience relations formally behave like causal relations. If this is correct, then it turns out that both versions of the exclusion argument are valid when assuming the causal Markov condition and the causal minimality condition. I also investigate some consequences for the recent discussion of causal exclusion arguments in the light of an interventionist theory (...)
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  4.  62
    Causal Nets, Interventionism, and Mechanisms: Philosophical Foundations and Applications.Alexander Gebharter - 2017 - Cham: Springer.
    This monograph looks at causal nets from a philosophical point of view. The author shows that one can build a general philosophical theory of causation on the basis of the causal nets framework that can be fruitfully used to shed new light on philosophical issues. Coverage includes both a theoretical as well as application-oriented approach to the subject. The author first counters David Hume’s challenge about whether causation is something ontologically real. The idea behind this is that good metaphysical concepts (...)
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  5.  50
    Uncovering Constitutive Relevance Relations in Mechanisms.Alexander Gebharter - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2645-2666.
    In this paper I argue that constitutive relevance relations in mechanisms behave like a special kind of causal relation in at least one important respect: Under suitable circumstances constitutive relevance relations produce the Markov factorization. Based on this observation one may wonder whether standard methods for causal discovery could be fruitfully applied to uncover constitutive relevance relations. This paper is intended as a first step into this new area of philosophical research. I investigate to what extent the PC algorithm, originally (...)
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  6.  61
    A Formal Framework for Representing Mechanisms?Alexander Gebharter - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (1):138-153.
    In this article I tackle the question of how the hierarchical order of mechanisms can be represented within a causal graph framework. I illustrate an answer to this question proposed by Casini, Illari, Russo, and Williamson and provide an example that their formalism does not support two important features of nested mechanisms: (i) a mechanism’s submechanisms are typically causally interacting with other parts of said mechanism, and (ii) intervening in some of a mechanism’s parts should have some influence on the (...)
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  7.  21
    A Causal Bayes Net Analysis of Dispositions.Alexander Gebharter & Florian Fischer - 2019 - Synthese.
    In this paper we develop an analysis of dispositions by means of causal Bayes nets. In particular, we analyze dispositions as cause-effect structures that increase the probability of the manifestation when the stimulus is brought about by intervention in certain circumstances. We then highlight several advantages of our analysis and how it can handle problems arising for classical analyses of dispositions such as masks, mimickers, and finks.
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  8.  22
    A New Proposal How to Handle Counterexamples to Markov Causation a la Cartwright, Or: Fixing the Chemical Factory.Alexander Gebharter & Nina Retzlaff - 2018 - Synthese:1-20.
    Cartwright (1999a, 1999b) attacked the view that causal relations conform to the Markov condition by providing a counterexample in which a common cause does not screen off its effects: the prominent chemical factory. In this paper we suggest a new way to handle counterexamples to Markov causation such as the chemical factory. We argue that Cartwright’s as well as similar scenarios (such as decay processes, EPR/B experiments, or spontaneous macro breaking processes) feature a certain kind of non-causal dependence that kicks (...)
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  9. Causal Graphs and Biological Mechanisms.Alexander Gebharter & Marie I. Kaiser - 2014 - In Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver Scholz, Daniel Plenge & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Explanation in the special sciences: The case of biology and history. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 55-86.
    Modeling mechanisms is central to the biological sciences – for purposes of explanation, prediction, extrapolation, and manipulation. A closer look at the philosophical literature reveals that mechanisms are predominantly modeled in a purely qualitative way. That is, mechanistic models are conceived of as representing how certain entities and activities are spatially and temporally organized so that they bring about the behavior of the mechanism in question. Although this adequately characterizes how mechanisms are represented in biology textbooks, contemporary biological research practice (...)
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  10.  21
    Confirmation Based on Analogical Inference: Bayes Meets Jeffrey.Christian J. Feldbacher-Escamilla & Alexander Gebharter - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy.
    Certain hypotheses cannot be directly confirmed for theoretical, practical, or moral reasons. For some of these hypotheses, however, there might be a workaround: confirmation based on analogical reasoning. In this paper we take up Dardashti, Hartmann, Thébault, and Winsberg’s (in press) idea of analyzing confirmation based on analogical inference Baysian style. We identify three types of confirmation by analogy and show that Dardashti et al.’s approach can cover two of them. We then highlight possible problems with their model as a (...)
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  11.  30
    Erratum To: Causality as a Theoretical Concept: Explanatory Warrant and Empirical Content of the Theory of Causal Nets.Gerhard Schurz & Alexander Gebharter - 2016 - Synthese 193 (4):1105-1106.
  12.  29
    Establishing Backward Causation on Empirical Grounds: An Interventionist Approach.Alexander Gebharter, Dennis Graemer & Frenzis H. Scheffels - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):129-138.
    We propose an analysis of backward causation in terms of interventionism that can avoid several problems typically associated with backward causation. Its main advantage over other accounts is that it allows for reducing the problematic task of supporting backward causal claims to the unproblematic task of finding evidence for several ordinary forward directed causal hypotheses.
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  13.  51
    Another Problem with RBN Models of Mechanisms.Alexander Gebharter - 2016 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 31 (2):177-188.
    Casini, Illari, Russo, and Williamson (2011) suggest to model mechanisms by means of recursive Bayesian networks (RBNs) and Clarke, Leuridan, and Williamson (2014) extend their modelling approach to mechanisms featuring causal feedback. One of the main selling points of the RBN approach should be that it provides answers to questions concerning manipulation and control. In this paper I demonstrate that the method to compute the effects of interventions the authors mentioned endorse leads to absurd results under the additional assumption of (...)
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  14.  39
    A Modeling Approach for Mechanisms Featuring Causal Cycles.Alexander Gebharter & Gerhard Schurz - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (5):934-945.
    Mechanisms play an important role in many sciences when it comes to questions concerning explanation, prediction, and control. Answering such questions in a quantitative way requires a formal represention of mechanisms. Gebharter (2014) suggests to represent mechanisms by means of one or more causal arrows of an acyclic causal net. In this paper we show how this approach can be extended in such a way that it can also be fruitfully applied to mechanisms featuring causal feedback.
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  15.  13
    A Causal Bayes Net Analysis of Glennan’s Mechanistic Account of Higher-Level Causation.Alexander Gebharter - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz034.
    One of Stuart Glennan's most prominent contributions to the new mechanist debate consists in his reductive analysis of higher-level causation in terms of mechanisms (Glennan, 1996). In this paper I employ the causal Bayes net framework to reconstruct his analysis. This allows for specifying general assumptions which have to be satis ed to get Glennan's approach working. I show that once these assumptions are in place, they imply (against the background of the causal Bayes net machinery) that higher-level causation indeed (...)
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  16.  24
    Modeling Creative Abduction Bayesian Style.Christian J. Feldbacher-Escamilla & Alexander Gebharter - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):9.
    Schurz proposed a justification of creative abduction on the basis of the Reichenbachian principle of the common cause. In this paper we take up the idea of combining creative abduction with causal principles and model instances of successful creative abduction within a Bayes net framework. We identify necessary conditions for such inferences and investigate their unificatory power. We also sketch several interesting applications of modeling creative abduction Bayesian style. In particular, we discuss use-novel predictions, confirmation, and the problem of underdetermination (...)
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  17.  36
    Combining Causal Bayes Nets and Cellular Automata: A Hybrid Modelling Approach to Mechanisms.Alexander Gebharter & Daniel Koch - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Causal Bayes nets (CBNs) can be used to model causal relationships up to whole mechanisms. Though modelling mechanisms with CBNs comes with many advantages, CBNs might fail to adequately represent some biological mechanisms because—as Kaiser (2016) pointed out—they have problems with capturing relevant spatial and structural information. In this paper we propose a hybrid approach for modelling mechanisms that combines CBNs and cellular automata. Our approach can incorporate spatial and structural information while, at the same time, it comes with all (...)
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  18. Addendum to "A Formal Framework for Representing Mechanisms?".Alexander Gebharter - manuscript
    In (Gebharter 2014) I suggested a framework for modeling the hierarchical organization of mechanisms. In this short addendum I want to highlight some connections of my approach to the statistics and machine learning literature and some of its limitations not mentioned in the paper.
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  19.  50
    How Occam's Razor Provides a Neat Definition of Direct Causation.Alexander Gebharter & Gerhard Schurz - 2014 - In J. M. Mooij, D. Janzing, J. Peters, T. Claassen & A. Hyttinen (eds.), Proceedings of the UAI Workshop Causal Inference: Learning and Prediction. CEUR-WS. pp. 1-10.
    In this paper we show that the application of Occam’s razor to the theory of causal Bayes nets gives us a neat definition of direct causation. In particular we show that Occam’s razor implies Woodward’s (2003) definition of direct causation, provided suitable intervention variables exist and the causal Markov condition (CMC) is satisfied. We also show how Occam’s razor can account for direct causal relationships Woodward style when only stochastic intervention variables are available.
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  20.  65
    Solving the Flagpole Problem.Alexander Gebharter - 2013 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 44 (1):63-67.
    In this paper I demonstrate that the causal structure of flagpole-like systems can be determined by application of causal graph theory. Additional information about the ordering of events in time or about how parameters of the systems of interest can be manipulated is not needed.
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  21.  17
    A Causal Bayesian Network Model of Disease Progression Mechanisms in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.Daniel Koch, Robert Eisinger & Alexander Gebharter - 2017 - Journal of Theoretical Biology 433:94-105.
    Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a cancer of the hematopoietic system initiated by a single genetic mutation which results in the oncogenic fusion protein Bcr-Abl. Untreated, patients pass through different phases of the disease beginning with the rather asymptomatic chronic phase and ultimately culminating into blast crisis, an acute leukemia resembling phase with a very high mortality. Although many processes underlying the chronic phase are well understood, the exact mechanisms of disease progression to blast crisis are not yet revealed. In (...)
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  22.  40
    Philosophy of Science in Germany, 1992–2012: Survey-Based Overview and Quantitative Analysis.Matthias Unterhuber, Alexander Gebharter & Gerhard Schurz - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (1):71-160.
    An overview of the German philosophy of science community is given for the years 1992–2012, based on a survey in which 159 philosophers of science in Germany participated. To this end, the institutional background of the German philosophy of science community is examined in terms of journals, centers, and associations. Furthermore, a qualitative description and a quantitative analysis of our survey results are presented. Quantitative estimates are given for: (a) academic positions, (b) research foci, (c) philosophers’ of science most important (...)
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  23. From a Mereotopological Point of View.Alexander Gebharter & Alexander Mirnig - 2010 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 23 (1):78-90.
    In his Critique of Pure Reason Immanuel Kant presents four antinomies. In his attempt to solve the first of these antinomies he examines and analyzes "thesis" and "antithesis" more thoroughly and employs the terms `part', `whole' and `boundary' in his argumentation for their validity. According to Kant, the whole problem surrounding the antinomy was caused by applying the concept of the world to nature and then using both terms interchangeably. While interesting, this solution is still not that much more than (...)
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  24.  14
    The Second International Conference of the German Society for Philosophy of Science (GWP.2016), 8–11 March 2016.Alexander Christian, Christian J. Feldbacher-Escamilla & Alexander Gebharter - 2017 - In Selected Papers of the Triennial Conference of the German Society for Philosophy of Science GWP.2016, Düsseldorf, March 8–11, 2016. pp. 289-291.
  25.  63
    Editors' Introduction.Alexander Gebharter & Gerhard Schurz - 2014 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 29 (1):5-7.
  26.  85
    For a Better Understanding of Causality. [REVIEW]Alexander Gebharter & Gerhard Schurz - 2012 - Metascience 21 (3):643-648.
    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.
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  27.  52
    Causal Exclusion Without Physical Completeness and No Overdetermination.Alexander Gebharter - 2017 - Abstracta 10:3-14.
    Hitchcock demonstrated that the validity of causal exclusion arguments as well as the plausibility of several of their premises hinges on the specific theory of causation endorsed. In this paper I show that the validity of causal exclusion arguments—if represented within the theory of causal Bayes nets the way Gebharter suggests—actually requires much weaker premises than the ones which are typically assumed. In particular, neither completeness of the physical domain nor the no overdetermination assumption are required.
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  28.  33
    Disjunctivism: An Answer to Two Pseudo Problems?Alexander Gebharter & Alexander Mirnig - 2010 - Conceptus: Zeitschrift Fur Philosophie 39 (95):61-84.
    Ever since it was discovered that hallucinations and illusions are not all that compatible with our natural view of the relation between the perceiving subject and the perceived object, according to which we always perceive the object itself (or, as most epistemologists prefer to say, we perceive it directly), the philosophical position of Direct (or Naïve) Realism which is meant to be the epistemological equivalent of this view, has begun to falter. To express these problems more explicitly, the argument from (...)
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  29.  29
    Philosophy of Science Between the Natural Sciences, the Social Sciences, and the Humanities: Introduction.Christian J. Feldbacher-Escamilla, Alexander Gebharter & Gerhard Schurz - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (3):317-326.
    This introduction provides a detailed summary of all papers of the special issue on the second conference of the German Society for Philosophy of Science: GWP.2016.
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  30.  5
    The Second International Conference of the German Society for Philosophy of Science , 8–11 March 2016.Alexander Gebharter, Christian Feldbacher-Escamilla & Alexander Christian - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (2):289-291.
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  31.  30
    Introduction to the Special Issue “Causation, Probability, and Truth—the Philosophy of Clark Glymour”.Alexander Gebharter & Gerhard Schurz - 2016 - Synthese 193 (4):1007-1010.
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  32.  28
    Conference Report: Salzburg Conference for Young Analytic Philosophy 2011. [REVIEW]Albert Anglberger, Christian Feldbacher, Alexander Gebharter & Stefan Gugerell - 2012 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):104--109.
    The SOPhiA conferences (Salzburg Conference for Young Analytic Philosophy / Salzburgiense concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis) are intended to give young predoctoral philosophers the possibility to actively attend a professional conference, to tackle current, as well as classical, philosophical problems, and to discuss their own approaches with promising students from many dierent countries as well as with wellestablished experts. We are firmly convinced that this is a natural and necessary step for promoting the next generation of analytic philosophers and thus, strengthening (...)
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  33.  23
    Erratum To: Solving the Flagpole Problem.Alexander Gebharter - 2015 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (2):425-425.