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Profile: Alexander Reutlinger (Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München)
  1. Ceteris Paribus Laws.Alexander Reutlinger, Gerhard Schurz & Andreas Hüttemann - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Laws of nature take center stage in philosophy of science. Laws are usually believed to stand in a tight conceptual relation to many important key concepts such as causation, explanation, confirmation, determinism, counterfactuals etc. Traditionally, philosophers of science have focused on physical laws, which were taken to be at least true, universal statements that support counterfactual claims. But, although this claim about laws might be true with respect to physics, laws in the special sciences (such as biology, psychology, economics etc.) (...)
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  2.  80
    Do Statistical Laws Solve the 'Problem of Provisos'?Alexander Reutlinger - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (10):1759-1773.
    In their influential paper “Ceteris Paribus, There is No Problem of Provisos”, Earman and Roberts (Synthese 118:439–478, 1999) propose to interpret the non-strict generalizations of the special sciences as statistical generalizations about correlations. I call this view the “statistical account”. Earman and Roberts claim that statistical generalizations are not qualified by “non-lazy” ceteris paribus conditions. The statistical account is an attractive view, since it looks exactly like what everybody wants: it is a simple and intelligible theory of special science laws (...)
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  3.  58
    Why Is There Universal Macrobehavior? Renormalization Group Explanation as Noncausal Explanation.Alexander Reutlinger - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):1157-1170.
    Renormalization group (RG) methods are an established strategy to explain how it is possible that microscopically different systems exhibit virtually the same macro behavior when undergoing phase-transitions. I argue – in agreement with Robert Batterman – that RG explanations are non-causal explanations. However, Batterman misidentifies the reason why RG explanations are non-causal: it is not the case that an explanation is non- causal if it ignores causal details. I propose an alternative argument, according to which RG explanations are non-causal explanations (...)
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  4. A Relic of a Bygone Age? Causation, Time Symmetry and the Directionality Argument.Matt Farr & Alexander Reutlinger - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):215-235.
    Bertrand Russell famously argued that causation is not part of the fundamental physical description of the world, describing the notion of cause as “a relic of a bygone age”. This paper assesses one of Russell’s arguments for this conclusion: the ‘Directionality Argument’, which holds that the time symmetry of fundamental physics is inconsistent with the time asymmetry of causation. We claim that the coherence and success of the Directionality Argument crucially depends on the proper interpretation of the ‘ time symmetry’ (...)
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  5.  37
    Explanation Beyond Causation? New Directions in the Philosophy of Scientific Explanation.Alexander Reutlinger - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (2):e12395.
    In this paper, I aim to provide access to the current debate on non-causal explanations in philosophy of science. I will first present examples of non-causal explanations in the sciences. Then, I will outline three alternative approaches to non-causal explanations – that is, causal reductionism, pluralism, and monism – and, corresponding to these three approaches, different strategies for distinguishing between causal and non-causal explanation. Finally, I will raise questions for future research on non-causal explanations.
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  6. Getting Rid of Interventions.Alexander Reutlinger - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (4):787-795.
    According to James Woodward’s influential interventionist account of causation, X is a cause of Y iff, roughly, there is a possible intervention on X that changes Y. Woodward requires that interventions be merely logically possible. I will argue for two claims against this modal character of interventions: First, merely logically possible interventions are dispensable for the semantic project of providing an account of the meaning of causal statements. If interventions are indeed dispensable, the interventionist theory collapses into (some sort of) (...)
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  7. A Theory of Non-Universal Laws.Alexander Reutlinger - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (2):97 - 117.
    Laws in the special sciences are usually regarded to be non-universal. A theory of laws in the special sciences faces two challenges. (I) According to Lange's dilemma, laws in the special sciences are either false or trivially true. (II) They have to meet the ?requirement of relevance?, which is a way to require the non-accidentality of special science laws. I argue that both challenges can be met if one distinguishes four dimensions of (non-) universality. The upshot is that I argue (...)
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  8.  42
    Does the Counterfactual Theory of Explanation Apply to Non-Causal Explanations in Metaphysics?Alexander Reutlinger - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science:1-18.
    In the recent philosophy of explanation, a growing attention to and discussion of non-causal explanations has emerged, as there seem to be compelling examples of non-causal explanations in the sciences, in pure mathematics, and in metaphysics. I defend the claim that the counterfactual theory of explanation (CTE) captures the explanatory character of both non-causal scientific and metaphysical explanations. According to the CTE, scientific and metaphysical explanations are explanatory by virtue of revealing counterfactual dependencies between the explanandum and the explanans. I (...)
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  9. Can Interventionists Be Neo-Russellians? Interventionism, the Open Systems Argument, and the Arrow of Entropy.Alexander Reutlinger - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (3):273-293.
  10.  88
    Better Best Systems – Too Good To Be True.Marius Backmann & Alexander Reutlinger - 2014 - Dialectica 68 (3):375-390.
    Craig Callender, Jonathan Cohen and Markus Schrenk have recently argued for an amended version of the best system account of laws – the better best system account (BBSA). This account of lawhood is supposed to account for laws in the special sciences, among other desiderata. Unlike David Lewis's original best system account of laws, the BBSA does not rely on a privileged class of natural predicates, in terms of which the best system is formulated. According to the BBSA, a contingently (...)
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  11.  74
    Is There A Monist Theory of Causal and Non-Causal Explanations? The Counterfactual Theory of Scientific Explanation.Alexander Reutlinger - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    The goal of this paper is to develop a counterfactual theory of explanation. The CTE provides a monist framework for causal and non-causal explanations, according to which both causal and non-causal explanations are explanatory by virtue of revealing counterfactual dependencies between the explanandum and the explanans. I argue that the CTE is applicable to two paradigmatic examples of non-causal explanations: Euler’s explanation and renormalization group explanations of universality.
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  12.  19
    Does the Counterfactual Theory of Explanation Apply to Non-Causal Explanations in Metaphysics?Alexander Reutlinger - forthcoming - European Journal for Philosophy of Science:1-18.
    In the recent philosophy of explanation, a growing attention to and discussion of non-causal explanations has emerged, as there seem to be compelling examples of non-causal explanations in the sciences, in pure mathematics, and in metaphysics. I defend the claim that the counterfactual theory of explanation captures the explanatory character of both non-causal scientific and metaphysical explanations. According to the CTE, scientific and metaphysical explanations are explanatory by virtue of revealing counterfactual dependencies between the explanandum and the explanans. I support (...)
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  13. Against the Statistical Account of Special Science Laws.Andreas Hüttemann & Alexander Reutlinger - 2013 - In Vassilios Karakostas & Dennis Dieks (eds.), Recent Progress in Philosophy of Science: Perspectives and Foundational Problems. The Third European Philosophy of Science Association Proceedings. Springer. pp. 181-192.
    John Earman and John T. Roberts advocate a challenging and radical claim regarding the semantics of laws in the special sciences: the statistical account. According to this account, a typical special science law “asserts a certain precisely defined statistical relation among well-defined variables” and this statistical relation does not require being hedged by ceteris paribus conditions. In this paper, we raise two objections against the attempt to cash out the content of special science generalizations in statistical terms.
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  14.  23
    Understanding (With) Toy Models.Alexander Reutlinger, Dominik Hangleiter & Stephan Hartmann - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Toy models are highly idealized and extremely simple models. Although they are omnipresent across scientific disciplines, toy models are a surprisingly under-appreciated subject in the philosophy of science. The main philosophical puzzle regarding toy models is that it is an unsettled question what the epistemic goal of toy modeling is. One promising proposal for answering this question is the claim that the epistemic goal of toy models is to provide individual scientists with understanding. The aim of this paper is to (...)
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  15.  16
    Abstract Versus Causal Explanations?Alexander Reutlinger & Holly Andersen - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (2):129-146.
    In the recent literature on causal and non-causal scientific explanations, there is an intuitive assumption according to which an explanation is non-causal by virtue of being abstract. In this context, to be ‘abstract’ means that the explanans in question leaves out many or almost all causal microphysical details of the target system. After motivating this assumption, we argue that the abstractness assumption, in placing the abstract and the causal character of an explanation in tension, is misguided in ways that are (...)
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  16.  41
    Thinking About Non-Universal Laws.Alexander Reutlinger & Matthias Unterhuber - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (10):1703-1713.
    What are ceteris paribus laws? Which disciplines appeal to cp laws and which semantics, metaphysical underpinning, and epistemological dimensions do cp law statements have? Firstly, we give a short overview of the recent discussion on cp laws, which addresses these questions. Secondly, we suggest that given the rich and diverse literature on cp laws a broad conception of cp laws should be endorsed which takes into account the different ways in which laws can be non-universal . Finally, we provide an (...)
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  17.  61
    Markus Schrenk the Metaphysics of Ceteris Paribus Laws.Alexander Reutlinger - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (1):229-233.
  18.  83
    Are Causal Facts Really Explanatorily Emergent? Ladyman and Ross on Higher-Level Causal Facts and Renormalization Group Explanation.Alexander Reutlinger - forthcoming - Synthese.
    In their Every Thing Must Go, Ladyman and Ross defend a novel version of Neo- Russellian metaphysics of causation, which falls into three claims: (1) there are no fundamental physical causal facts (orthodox Russellian claim), (2) there are higher-level causal facts of the special sciences, and (3) higher-level causal facts are explanatorily emergent. While accepting claims (1) and (2), I attack claim (3). Ladyman and Ross argue that higher-level causal facts are explanatorily emergent, because (a) certain aspects of these higher-level (...)
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  19.  18
    A Theory of Causation in the Social and Biological Sciences.Alexander Reutlinger - unknown
    What exactly do social scientists and biologists say when they make causal claims? This question is one of the central puzzles in philosophy of science. Alexander Reutlinger sets out to answer this question. He aims to provide a theory of causation in the special sciences (that is, a theory causation in the social sciences, the biological sciences and other higher-level sciences). According one recent prominent view, causation is that causation is intimately tied to manipulability and the possibility of intervene. Reutlinger's (...)
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  20.  10
    Can Interventionists Be Neo-Russellians? (Forthcoming).Alexander Reutlinger - unknown
    Several proponents of the interventionist theory of causation have recently argued for a neo-Russellian account of causation. The paper discusses two strategies for interventionists to be neo-Russellians. Firstly, I argue that the open systems argument – the main argument for a neo-Russellian account advocated by interventionists – fails. Secondly, I explore and discuss an alternative for interventionists who wish to be neo-Russellians: the statistical mechanical account. Although the latter account is an attractive alternative, it is argued that interventionists are not (...)
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  21. Laws and Lawmakers: Science, Metaphysics, and the Laws of Nature – Marc Lange.Alexander Reutlinger - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (243):415-418.
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  22.  2
    Getting Rid of Interventions.Alexander Reutlinger - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (4):787-795.
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  23.  13
    What's Wrong with the Pragmatic-Ontic Account of Mechanistic Explanation?Alexander Reutlinger - 2011 - In Dennis Dieks, Wenceslao Gonzalo, Thomas Uebel, Stephan Hartmann & Marcel Weber (eds.), Explanation, Prediction, and Confirmation. Springer. pp. 141--152.
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  24.  26
    Modelling Inequality.Karim P. Y. Thebault, Seamus Bradley & Alexander Reutlinger - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Econophysics is a new and exciting cross-disciplinary research field that applies models and modelling techniques from statistical physics to economic systems. It is not, however, without its critics: prominent figures in more mainstream economic theory have criticised some elements of the methodology of econophysics. One of the main lines of criticism concerns the nature of the modelling assumptions and idealisations involved, and a particular target are `kinetic exchange' approaches used to model the emergence of inequality within the distribution of individual (...)
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  25. Is Non-Reductive Conceptual Analysis a Meta-Philosophical Problem for Theories of Causation?Alexander Reutlinger - 2011 - Logique Et Analyse 54 (216).
  26.  9
    Do Renormalization Group Explanations Conform to the Commonality Strategy?Alexander Reutlinger - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (1):143-150.
    Renormalization group explanations account for the astonishing phenomenon that microscopically very different physical systems display the same macro-behavior when undergoing phase-transitions. Among philosophers, this explanandum phenomenon is often described as the occurrence of a particular kind of multiply realized macro-behavior. In several recent publications, Robert Batterman denies that RG explanations account for this explanandum phenomenon by following the commonality strategy, i.e. by identifying properties that microscopically very different physical systems have in common. Arguing against Batterman’s claim, I defend the view (...)
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  27.  11
    Do Renormalization Group Explanations Conform to the Commonality Strategy?Alexander Reutlinger - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (1):143-150.
    Renormalization group explanations account for the astonishing phenomenon that microscopically very different physical systems display the same macro-behavior when undergoing phase-transitions. Among philosophers, this explanandum phenomenon is often described as the occurrence of a particular kind of multiply realized macro-behavior. In several recent publications, Robert Batterman denies that RG explanations account for this explanandum phenomenon by following the commonality strategy, i.e. by identifying properties that microscopically very different physical systems have in common. Arguing against Batterman’s claim, I defend the view (...)
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  28.  6
    Erratum To: Metaphysics, Prescription and Methodological Disagreement.Alexander Reutlinger, Phyllis Illari, Andreas Hüttemann & Mathias Frisch - 2016 - Metascience 25 (2):339-339.
  29.  29
    Metaphysics as a Constraint on Science.Alexander Reutlinger - 2013 - Metascience 22 (2):297-301.
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  30.  7
    Metaphysics, Prescription and Methodological Disagreement.Alexander Reutlinger - 2015 - Metascience 24 (3):351-372.
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  31.  30
    Lawful Patterns in an Orderless Universe.Alexander Reutlinger - 2012 - Metascience 21 (3):653-656.
    Lawful patterns in an orderless universe Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9615-4 Authors Alexander Reutlinger, Department of Philosophy, University of Cologne, Richard-Strauss-Str. 2, 50931 Koln, Germany Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
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  32. Warum Atheisten den methodologischen Atheismus nicht brauchen.Alexander Reutlinger - 2016 - Zeitschrift Fuer Philosophische Forschung 70 (4):550-561.
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  33. Warum Atheisten den methodologischen Atheismus nicht brauchen.Alexander Reutlinger - 2016 - Latest Issue of Zeitschrift Fuer Philosophische Forschung 70 (4):550-561.
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