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Naftali Weinberger
Tilburg Center For Logic, Ethics, And Philosophy Of Science (TiLPS - Tilburg University)
  1. Puzzles for ZFEL, McShea and Brandon’s Zero Force Evolutionary Law.Martin Barrett, Hayley Clatterbuck, Michael Goldsby, Casey Helgeson, Brian McLoone, Trevor Pearce, Elliott Sober, Reuben Stern & Naftali Weinberger - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):723-735.
    In their 2010 book, Biology’s First Law, D. McShea and R. Brandon present a principle that they call ‘‘ZFEL,’’ the zero force evolutionary law. ZFEL says (roughly) that when there are no evolutionary forces acting on a population, the population’s complexity (i.e., how diverse its member organisms are) will increase. Here we develop criticisms of ZFEL and describe a different law of evolution; it says that diversity and complexity do not change when there are no evolutionary causes.
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  2.  40
    The Frugal Inference of Causal Relations.Malcolm Forster, Garvesh Raskutti, Reuben Stern & Naftali Weinberger - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):821-848.
    Recent approaches to causal modelling rely upon the causal Markov condition, which specifies which probability distributions are compatible with a directed acyclic graph. Further principles are required in order to choose among the large number of DAGs compatible with a given probability distribution. Here we present a principle that we call frugality. This principle tells one to choose the DAG with the fewest causal arrows. We argue that frugality has several desirable properties compared to the other principles that have been (...)
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  3.  92
    Path-Specific Effects.Naftali Weinberger - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (1):53-76.
    A cause may influence its effect via multiple paths. Paradigmatically (Hesslow [1974]), taking birth control pills both decreases one’s risk of thrombosis by preventing pregnancy and increases it by producing a blood chemical. Building on Pearl ([2001]), I explicate the notion of a path-specific effect. Roughly, a path-specific effect of C on E via path P is the degree to which a change in C would change E were they to be transmitted only via P. Facts about such effects may (...)
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  4. Systems Without a Graphical Causal Representation.Daniel M. Hausman, Reuben Stern & Naftali Weinberger - 2014 - Synthese 191 (8):1925-1930.
    There are simple mechanical systems that elude causal representation. We describe one that cannot be represented in a single directed acyclic graph. Our case suggests limitations on the use of causal graphs for causal inference and makes salient the point that causal relations among variables depend upon details of causal setups, including values of variables.
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  5. Evidence-Based Policy: A Practical Guide to Doing It Better, Nancy Cartwright and Jeremy Hardie. Oxford University Press, 2013, Ix + 196 Pages. [REVIEW]Naftali Weinberger - 2014 - Economics and Philosophy 30 (1):113-120.
  6. Is There an Empirical Disagreement Between Genic and Genotypic Selection Models? A Response to Brandon and Nijhout.Naftali Weinberger - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (2):225-237.
    In a recent paper, Brandon and Nijhout argue against genic selectionism—the thesis, roughly, that evolutionary processes are best understood from the gene’s-eye point of view—by presenting a case in which genic models of selection allegedly make predictions that conflict with the (correct) predictions of higher-level genotypic selection models. Their argument, if successful, would refute the widely held belief that genic models and higher-level models are predictively equivalent. Here, I argue that Brandon and Nijhout fail to demonstrate that the models make (...)
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    Mechanisms Without Mechanistic Explanation.Naftali Weinberger - 2019 - Synthese 196 (6):2323-2340.
    Some recent accounts of constitutive relevance have identified mechanism components with entities that are causal intermediaries between the input and output of a mechanism. I argue that on such accounts there is no distinctive inter-level form of mechanistic explanation and that this highlights an absence in the literature of a compelling argument that there are such explanations. Nevertheless, the entities that these accounts call ‘components’ do play an explanatory role. Studying causal intermediaries linking variables Xand Y provides knowledge of the (...)
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  8.  58
    Faithfulness, Coordination and Causal Coincidences.Naftali Weinberger - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (2):113-133.
    Within the causal modeling literature, debates about the Causal Faithfulness Condition have concerned whether it is probable that the parameters in causal models will have values such that distinct causal paths will cancel. As the parameters in a model are fixed by the probability distribution over its variables, it is initially puzzling what it means to assign probabilities to these parameters. I propose that to assign a probability to a parameter in a model is to treat that parameter as a (...)
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  9.  42
    Discovering Brain Mechanisms Using Network Analysis and Causal Modeling.Matteo Colombo & Naftali Weinberger - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (2):265-286.
    Mechanist philosophers have examined several strategies scientists use for discovering causal mechanisms in neuroscience. Findings about the anatomical organization of the brain play a central role in several such strategies. Little attention has been paid, however, to the use of network analysis and causal modeling techniques for mechanism discovery. In particular, mechanist philosophers have not explored whether and how these strategies incorporate information about the anatomical organization of the brain. This paper clarifies these issues in the light of the distinction (...)
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    Erratum To: Systems Without a Graphical Causal Representation.Daniel M. Hausman, Reuben Stern & Naftali Weinberger - 2015 - Synthese 192 (9):3053-3053.
    Erratum to: Synthese 191:1925–1930 DOI:10.1007/s11229-013-0380-3 The authors were unaware that points in their article appeared in “Caveats for Causal Reasoning with Equilibrium Models,” by Denver Dash and Marek Druzdzel, published in S. Benferhat and P. Besnard : European Conferences on Symbolic and Quantitative Approaches to Reasoning with Uncertainty 2001, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 2143, pp. 192–203. The authors were unaware of this essay and would like to apologize to the authors for failing to cite their excellent work.
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    Mechanisms Without Mechanistic Explanation.Naftali Weinberger - 2017 - Synthese:1-18.
    Some recent accounts of constitutive relevance have identified mechanism components with entities that are causal intermediaries between the input and output of a mechanism. I argue that on such accounts there is no distinctive inter-level form of mechanistic explanation and that this highlights an absence in the literature of a compelling argument that there are such explanations. Nevertheless, the entities that these accounts call ‘components’ do play an explanatory role. Studying causal intermediaries linking variables Xand Y provides knowledge of the (...)
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