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Christopher Hitchcock
California Institute of Technology
  1. The Role of Contrast in Causal and Explanatory Claims.Christopher Read Hitchcock - 1996 - Synthese 107 (3):395 - 419.
    Following Dretske (1977), there has been a considerable body of literature on the role of contrastive stress in causal claims. Following van Fraassen (1980), there has been a considerable body of literature on the role of contrastive stress in explanations and explanation-requesting why-questions. Amazingly, the two bodies of literature have remained almost entirely disjoint. With an understanding of the contrastive nature of ordinary causal claims, and of the linguistic roles of contrastive stress, it is possible to provide a unified account (...)
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  2. Salmon on Explanatory Relevance.Christopher Read Hitchcock - 1995 - Philosophy of Science 62 (2):304-320.
    One of the motivations for Salmon's (1984) causal theory of explanation was the explanatory irrelevance exhibited by many arguments conforming to Hempel's covering-law models of explanation. However, the nexus of causal processes and interactions characterized by Salmon is not rich enough to supply the necessary conception of explanatory relevance. Salmon's (1994) revised theory, which is briefly criticized on independent grounds, fares no better. There is some possibility that the two-tiered structure of explanation described by Salmon (1984) may be pressed into (...)
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  3. The Mishap at Reichenbach Fall: Singular Vs. General Causation.Christopher Read Hitchcock - 1995 - Philosophical Studies 78 (3):257 - 291.
  4. A Generalized Probabilistic Theory of Causal Relevance.Christopher Read Hitchcock - 1993 - Synthese 97 (3):335 - 364.
    I advance a new theory of causal relevance, according to which causal claims convey information about conditional probability functions. This theory is motivated by the problem of disjunctive factors, which haunts existing probabilistic theories of causation. After some introductory remarks, I present in Section 3 a sketch of Eells's (1991) probabilistic theory of causation, which provides the framework for much of the discussion. Section 4 explains how the problem of disjunctive factors arises within this framework. After rejecting three proposed solutions, (...)
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  5.  47
    Farewell to Binary Causation.Christopher Read Hitchcock - 1996 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (2):267 - 282.
    Causation is a topic of perennial philosophical concern. As well as being of intrinsic interest, almost all philosophical concepts — such as knowledge, beauty, and moral responsibility — involve a causal dimension. Nonetheless, attempts to provide a satisfactory account of the nature of causation have typically led to barrages of counterexamples. I hope to show that a number of the difficulties plaguing theories of causation have a common source.Most philosophical theories of causation describe a binary relation between cause and effect, (...)
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  6. Causal Decision Theory and Decision-Theoretic Causation.Christopher Read Hitchcock - 1996 - Noûs 30 (4):508-526.
  7. Causal Explanation and Scientific Realism.Christopher Read Hitchcock - 1992 - Erkenntnis 37 (2):151 - 178.
    It is widely believed that many of the competing accounts of scientific explanation have ramifications which are relevant to the scientific realism debate. I claim that the two issues are orthogonal. For definiteness, I consider Cartwright's argument that causal explanations secure belief in theoretical entities. In Section I, van Fraassen's anti-realism is reviewed; I argue that this anti-realism is, prima facie, consistent with a causal account of explanation. Section II reviews Cartwright's arguments. In Section III, it is argued that causal (...)
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  8.  47
    The Mechanist and the Snail.Christopher Read Hitchcock - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 84 (1):91 - 105.
    Introduction: One of the most influential theories of scientific explanation to have emerged in the past two decades is Salmon's causal/mechanical theory (Salmon 1984). According to this account, scientific explanations describe a network of causal processes and interactions. In this paper, I will use an example from evolutionary biology to argue that the causal nexus, as characterized by Salmon, is not rich enough to account for many causal explanations in the sciences.
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  9.  25
    Discussion: Screening-Off and Visibility to Selection. [REVIEW]Christopher Read Hitchcock - 1997 - Biology and Philosophy 12 (4):521-529.
    Philosophers have used the probabilistic relation of ’screening-off‘ to explicate concepts in the theories of causation and explanation. Brandon has used screening-off relations in an attempt to reconstruct an argument of Mayr and Gould that natural selection acts at the level of the organism. I argue that Brandon‘s reconstruction is unsuccessful.
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  10.  19
    Permutation or Tranlation: Will the Real Indeterminacy Thesis Please Stand Up?Christopher Read Hitchcock - 1995 - Southwest Philosophy Review 11 (2):187-205.
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  11.  45
    Wittgenstein on Private Language: Exorcising the Ghost From the Machine.Christopher Read Hitchcock - 1995 - Philosophia 24 (3-4):127-147.
  12. Probabilistic Causation in Scientific Explanation.Christopher Read Hitchcock - 1993 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
    Salmon has argued that science provides explanations by describing a causal nexus: For Salmon, this nexus is a network of processes and interactions. I argue that this picture of the causal nexus is insufficient for an account of scientific explanation: a taxonomy of causal relevance is also needed. ;Probabilistic theories of causation seem to provide such a taxonomy in their dichotomy between promoting and inhibiting causes. However, standard probabilistic theories are beset by a difficulty called the problem of disjunctive factors. (...)
     
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  13. Wittgenstein on Private Language: Exorcising the Ghost From the Machine.Christopher Read Hitchcock - 1995 - Philosophia 24 (3-4):559-559.
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