Results for 'causal explanation'

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  1. Causal Explanation.David Lewis - 1986 - In Philosophical Papers Vol. Ii. Oxford University Press. pp. 214-240.
  2. Misconceived Causal Explanations for Emergent Processes.Michelene T. H. Chi, Rod D. Roscoe, James D. Slotta, Marguerite Roy & Catherine C. Chase - 2012 - Cognitive Science 36 (1):1-61.
    Studies exploring how students learn and understand science processes such as diffusion and natural selection typically find that students provide misconceived explanations of how the patterns of such processes arise (such as why giraffes’ necks get longer over generations, or how ink dropped into water appears to “flow”). Instead of explaining the patterns of these processes as emerging from the collective interactions of all the agents (e.g., both the water and the ink molecules), students often explain the pattern as being (...)
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  3.  6
    Because Without Cause: Non-Causal Explanations in Science and Mathematics.Marc Lange - 2016 - Oxford University Press USA.
    Not all scientific explanations work by describing causal connections between events or the world's overall causal structure. In addition, mathematicians regard some proofs as explaining why the theorems being proved do in fact hold. This book proposes new philosophical accounts of many kinds of non-causal explanations in science and mathematics.
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  4.  63
    Causal Explanation Beyond the Gene: Manipulation and Causality in Epigenetics.Jan Baedke - 2012 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 27 (2):153-174.
    _This paper deals with the interrelationship between causal explanation and methodology in a relatively young discipline in biology: epigenetics. Based on cases from molecular and ecological epigenetics, I show that James Woodward’s interventionist account of causation captures essential features about how epigeneticists using highly diverse methods, i.e. laboratory experiments and purely observational studies, think about causal explanation. I argue that interventionism thus qualifies as a useful unifying explanatory approach when it comes to cross-methodological research efforts: It (...)
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  5. Causal Explanation and Scientific Realism.Christopher 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 (...)
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  6. Understanding Interests and Causal Explanation.Petri Ylikoski - 2001 - Dissertation, University of Helsinki
    This work consists of two parts. Part I will be a contribution to a philo- sophical discussion of the nature of causal explanation. It will present my contrastive counterfactual theory of causal explanation and show how it can be used to deal with a number of problems facing theories of causal explanation. Part II is a contribution to a discussion of the na- ture of interest explanation in social studies of science. The aim (...)
     
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  7.  10
    Causal Explanation and the Reality of Natural Component Forces.Lewis Creary - 1981 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 62 (2):148-157.
  8.  44
    Causal Explanation and the Periodic Table.Lauren N. Ross - forthcoming - Synthese 198 (1):79-103.
    The periodic table represents and organizes all known chemical elements on the basis of their properties. While the importance of this table in chemistry is uncontroversial, the role that it plays in scientific reasoning remains heavily disputed. Many philosophers deny the explanatory role of the table and insist that it is “merely” classificatory The structure of scientific theories, University of Illinois Press, Illinois, 1977; Scerri in Erkenntnis 47:229–243, 1997). In particular, it has been claimed that the table does not figure (...)
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  9. Are There Non-Causal Explanations (of Particular Events)?Brdford Skow - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (3):axs047.
    Philosophers have proposed many alleged examples of non-causal explanations of particular events. I discuss several well-known examples and argue that they fail to be non-causal. 1 Questions2 Preliminaries3 Explanations That Cite Causally Inert Entities4 Explanations That Merely Cite Laws I5 Stellar Collapse6 Explanations That Merely Cite Laws II7 A Final Example8 Conclusion.
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  10.  64
    Causal Explanation and Fact Mutability in Counterfactual Reasoning.Morteza Dehghani, Rumen Iliev & Stefan Kaufmann - 2012 - Mind and Language 27 (1):55-85.
    Recent work on the interpretation of counterfactual conditionals has paid much attention to the role of causal independencies. One influential idea from the theory of Causal Bayesian Networks is that counterfactual assumptions are made by intervention on variables, leaving all of their causal non-descendants unaffected. But intervention is not applicable across the board. For instance, backtracking counterfactuals, which involve reasoning from effects to causes, cannot proceed by intervention in the strict sense, for otherwise they would be equivalent (...)
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  11. Abstract Versus Causal Explanations?Reutlinger Alexander & Andersen Holly - 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 (...)
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  12.  6
    Causal Explanation: Recursive Decompositions and Mechanisms.Michel Mouchart & Federica Russo - 2011 - In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press.
  13. Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    Woodward's long awaited book is an attempt to construct a comprehensive account of causation explanation that applies to a wide variety of causal and explanatory claims in different areas of science and everyday life. The book engages some of the relevant literature from other disciplines, as Woodward weaves together examples, counterexamples, criticisms, defenses, objections, and replies into a convincing defense of the core of his theory, which is that we can analyze causation by appeal to the notion of (...)
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  14. Omissions and Causal Explanations.Achille C. Varzi - 2007 - In Francesca Castellani & Josef Quitterer (eds.), Agency and Causation in the Human Sciences. Mentis Verlag. pp. 155–167.
    In previous work I have argued that talk about negative events should not be taken at face value: typically, what we are inclined to think of as a negative event (John’s failure to go jogging) is just an ordinary, positive event (his going to the movie instead); it is a positive event under a negative description. Here I consider more closely the difficulties that arise in those cases where no positive event seems available to do the job, as with putative (...)
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  15. Causal Explanations in Classical and Statistical Thermodynamics.Jeffrey S. Wicken - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (1):65-77.
    This paper considers the problem of causal explanation in classical and statistical thermodynamics. It is argued that the irreversibility of macroscopic processes is explained in both formulations of thermodynamics in a teleological way that appeals to entropic or probabilistic consequences rather than to efficient-causal, antecedental conditions. This explanatory structure of thermodynamics is not taken to imply a teleological orientation to macroscopic processes themselves, but to reflect simply the epistemological limitations of this science, wherein consequences of heat-work asymmetries (...)
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  16.  54
    Are There Non-Causal Explanations (of Particular Events)?Bradford Skow - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3):445-467.
    Philosophers have proposed many alleged examples of non-causal explana- tions of particular events. I discuss several well-known examples and argue that they fail to be non-causal.
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  17.  55
    Economics, Agency, and Causal Explanation.William Child - 2020 - In Peter Róna & László Zsolnai (eds.), Agency and Causal Explanation in Economics. Springer Verlag. pp. 53-67.
    The paper considers three questions. First, what is the connection between economics and agency? It is argued that causation and explanation in economics fundamentally depend on agency. So a philosophical understanding of economic explanation must be sensitive to an understanding of agency. Second, what is the connection between agency and causation? A causal view of agency-involving explanation is defended against a number of arguments from the resurgent noncausalist tradition in the literature on agency and action-explanation. (...)
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  18.  87
    Some Varieties of Non-Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2018 - In Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi (eds.), Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter explores the possibility of weakening the criteria for causal explanation in Making Things Happen to yield various forms of non-causal explanation. These include the following: retaining the idea that explanations must answer what if things had been different questions but dropping the requirement the answers to such questions must take the form of claims about what would happen under interventions. Retaining the w- question requirement but allowing generalizations that hold for mathematical or conceptual reasons (...)
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  19.  15
    The Chances of Explanation: Causal Explanation in the Social, Medical, and Physical Sciences.Paul Humphreys - 1992 - Princeton Up.
    This book provides a post-positivist theory of deterministic and probabilistic causality that supports both quantitative and qualitative explanations. Features of particular interest include the ability to provide true explanations in contexts where our knowledge is incomplete, a systematic interpretation of causal modeling techniques in the social sciences, and a direct realist view of causal relations that is compatible with a liberal empiricism. The book should be of wide interest to both philosophers and scientists. Originally published in 1989. The (...)
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  20. Is There A Monist Theory of Causal and Non-Causal Explanations? The Counterfactual Theory of Scientific Explanation.Alexander Reutlinger - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (5):733-745.
    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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  21.  61
    Causal Explanation Beyond the Gene.Jan Baedke - 2012 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 27 (2):153-174.
    This paper deals with the interrelationship between causal explanation and methodology in a relatively young discipline in biology: epigenetics. Based on cases from molecular and ecological epigenetics, I show that James Woodward’s interventionist account of causation captures essential features about how epigeneticists using highly diverse methods, i.e. laboratory experiments and purely observational studies, think about causal explanation. I argue that interventionism thus qualifies as a useful unifying explanatory approach when it comes to cross-methodological research efforts. It (...)
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  22.  71
    Causal Explanation in Psychiatry.Tuomas K. Pernu - 2019 - In Şerife Tekin & Robyn Bluhm (eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Philosophy of Psychiatry. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
  23.  16
    Causal Explanations as a Risk Factor for Depression: Theory and Evidence.Christopher Peterson & Martin E. Seligman - 1984 - Psychological Review 91 (3):347-374.
  24.  20
    Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations.Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi (eds.) - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    Explanations are very important to us in many contexts: in science, mathematics, philosophy, and also in everyday and juridical contexts. But what is an explanation? In the philosophical study of explanation, there is long-standing, influential tradition that links explanation intimately to causation: we often explain by providing accurate information about the causes of the phenomenon to be explained. Such causal accounts have been the received view of the nature of explanation, particularly in philosophy of science, (...)
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  25.  58
    Quantum Causal Explanation: Or, Why Birds Fly South.Sally Shrapnel - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (3):409-423.
    It is widely held that it is difficult, if not impossible, to apply causal theory to the domain of quantum mechanics. However, there are several recent scientific explanations that appeal crucially to quantum processes, and which are most naturally construed as causal explanations. They come from two relatively new fields: quantum biology and quantum technology. We focus on two examples, the explanation for the optical interferometer LIGO and the explanation for the avian magneto-compass. We analyse the (...)
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  26.  89
    Laboratory Models, Causal Explanation and Group Selection.James R. Griesemer & Michael J. Wade - 1988 - Biology and Philosophy 3 (1):67-96.
    We develop an account of laboratory models, which have been central to the group selection controversy. We compare arguments for group selection in nature with Darwin's arguments for natural selection to argue that laboratory models provide important grounds for causal claims about selection. Biologists get information about causes and cause-effect relationships in the laboratory because of the special role their own causal agency plays there. They can also get information about patterns of effects and antecedent conditions in nature. (...)
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  27. Because Without Cause: Non-Causal Explanations in Science and Mathematics.Mark Povich & Carl F. Craver - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (3):422-426.
    Lange’s collection of expanded, mostly previously published essays, packed with numerous, beautiful examples of putatively non-causal explanations from biology, physics, and mathematics, challenges the increasingly ossified causal consensus about scientific explanation, and, in so doing, launches a new field of philosophic investigation. However, those who embraced causal monism about explanation have done so because appeal to causal factors sorts good from bad scientific explanations and because the explanatory force of good explanations seems to derive (...)
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  28.  93
    A Theory of Singular Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 1984 - Erkenntnis 21 (3):231 - 262.
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  29.  79
    Commonsense Causal Explanation in a Legal Domain.Rinke Hoekstra & Joost Breuker - 2007 - Artificial Intelligence and Law 15 (3):281-299.
    In this paper, we present an approach to commonsense causal explanation of stories that can be used for automatically determining the liable party in legal case descriptions. The approach is based on, a core ontology for law that takes a commonsense perspective. Aside from our thesis that in the legal domain many terms still have a strong commonsense flavour, the descriptions of events in legal cases, as e.g. presented at judicial trials, are cast in commonsense terms as well. (...)
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  30. Causal Explanations of Behavior.Merrilee H. Salmon - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (4):720-738.
    Most discussions of causal explanations of behavior focus on the problem of whether it makes sense to regard reasons as causes of human behavior, whether there can be laws connecting reasons with behavior, and the like. This essay discusses explanations of human behavior that do not appeal to reasons. Such explanations can be found in several areas of the social sciences. Moreover, these explanations are both causal and non-reductionist. Historical linguists, for example, offer causal explanations of changes (...)
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  31. Genetic Traits and Causal Explanation.Robert Northcott - 2012 - In Kathryn Plaisance & Thomas Reydon (eds.), Philosophy of Behavioral Biology. Springer. pp. 65-82.
    I use a contrastive theory of causal explanation to analyze the notion of a genetic trait. The resulting definition is relational, an implication of which is that no trait is genetic always and everywhere. Rather, every trait may be either genetic or non-genetic, depending on explanatory context. I also outline some other advantages of connecting the debate to the wider causation literature, including how that yields us an account of the distinction between genetic traits and genetic dispositions.
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  32.  69
    Causal Explanation and Explanatory Selection.Rebecca Schweder - 1999 - Synthese 120 (1):115-124.
    It is observed that in ordinary everyday causal explanations often just one causal factor is mentioned. One causal factor carries the explanatory burden, even if there are several causal factors that are responsible for the event to be explained. This paper deals with the question of how to account for this explanatory selection. I argue for a pragmatic stance towards explanation, that we must attend to the question–answer situation as a whole and the context of (...)
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  33.  56
    Causal Explanation in the Social Sciences.Daniel Little - 1996 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 34 (S1):31-56.
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  34. Causal Explanation and Manipulation.Stathis Psillos - 2007 - In Johannes Persson & Petri Ylikoski (eds.), Rethinking Explanation. Springer. pp. 93--107.
  35.  28
    Causal Explanation and the Vocabulary of Action.George Sher - 1973 - Mind 82 (325):22-30.
    It seems plausible to suppose that (a) the vocabulary of action is distinct from and irreducible to that of mere movement, And (b) the causal laws of the natural sciences are couched solely in terms of the latter vocabulary. From these two suppositions, The falsehood of determinism has sometimes been said to follow. I argue that whether this does follow depends on our conception of causal explanation; on the interpretation of this concept that seems to me the (...)
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  36. Forms of Causal Explanation.Erik Weber, Jeroen Van Bouwel & Robrecht Vanderbeeken - 2005 - Foundations of Science 10 (4):437-454.
    In the literature on scientific explanation two types of pluralism are very common. The first concerns the distinction between explanations of singular facts and explanations of laws: there is a consensus that they have a different structure. The second concerns the distinction between causal explanations and uni.cation explanations: most people agree that both are useful and that their structure is different. In this article we argue for pluralism within the area of causal explanations: we claim that the (...)
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  37. Models, Robustness, and Non-Causal Explanation: A Foray Into Cognitive Science and Biology.Elizabeth Irvine - 2015 - Synthese 192 (12):3943-3959.
    This paper is aimed at identifying how a model’s explanatory power is constructed and identified, particularly in the practice of template-based modeling (Humphreys, Philos Sci 69:1–11, 2002; Extending ourselves: computational science, empiricism, and scientific method, 2004), and what kinds of explanations models constructed in this way can provide. In particular, this paper offers an account of non-causal structural explanation that forms an alternative to causal–mechanical accounts of model explanation that are currently popular in philosophy of biology (...)
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  38.  64
    Nonseparable Processes and Causal Explanation.Richard Healey - 1994 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25 (3):337-374.
    If physical reality is nonseparable, as quantum mechanics suggests, then it may contain processes of a quite novel kind. Such nonseparable processes could connect space-like separated events without violating relativity theory or any defensible locality condition. Appeal to nonseparable processes could ground theoretical explanations of such otherwise puzzling phenomena as the two-slit experiment, and EPR- type correlations. We find such phenomena puzzling because they threaten cherished conceptions of how causes operate to produce their effects. But nonseparable processes offer us an (...)
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  39.  4
    Philosophy of Cognitive Neuroscience: Causal Explanations, Mechanisms and Experimental Manipulations.Lena Kästner - 2017 - De Gruyter.
    How do cognitive neuroscientists explain phenomena like memory or language processing? This book examines the different kinds of experiments and manipulative research strategies involved in understanding and eventually explaining such phenomena. Against this background, it evaluates contemporary accounts of scientific explanation, specifically the mechanistic and interventionist accounts, and finds them to be crucially incomplete. Besides, mechanisms and interventions cannot actually be combined in the way usually done in the literature. This book offers solutions to both these problems based on (...)
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  40.  56
    There Are Non‐Causal Explanations of Particular Events.Mark Pexton - 2016 - Metaphilosophy 47 (2):264-282.
    A defence of non-causal explanations of events is presented in cases where explanation is understood as modal explanation. In such cases the source of modal information is crucial. All explanations implicitly use contrast classes, and relative to a particular contrast we can privilege some difference makers over others. Thinking about changes in these privileged “actual” difference makers is then the source of modal information for any given explanandum. If an actual difference maker is non-causal, then we (...)
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  41.  45
    Bell Inequality and Common Causal Explanation in Algebraic Quantum Field Theory.Gábor Hofer-Szabó & Péter Vecsernyés - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (4):404-416.
    Bell inequalities, understood as constraints between classical conditional probabilities, can be derived from a set of assumptions representing a common causal explanation of classical correlations. A similar derivation, however, is not known for Bell inequalities in algebraic quantum field theories establishing constraints for the expectation of specific linear combinations of projections in a quantum state. In the paper we address the question as to whether a ‘common causal justification’ of these non-classical Bell inequalities is possible. We will (...)
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  42.  84
    How Can Causal Explanations Explain?Jon Williamson - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):257-275.
    The mechanistic and causal accounts of explanation are often conflated to yield a ‘causal-mechanical’ account. This paper prizes them apart and asks: if the mechanistic account is correct, how can causal explanations be explanatory? The answer to this question varies according to how causality itself is understood. It is argued that difference-making, mechanistic, dualist and inferentialist accounts of causality all struggle to yield explanatory causal explanations, but that an epistemic account of causality is more promising (...)
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  43. Causal Explanation and Ontological Commitment.Mark Colyvan - 1999 - In Uwe Meixner Peter Simons (ed.), Metaphysics in the Post-Metaphysical Age. Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society. pp. 1--141.
  44.  24
    Causal Explanation and Model Building in History, Economics, and the New Economic History.David Braybrooke & Peter D. McClelland - 1977 - History and Theory 16 (3):337.
  45.  14
    Cartesian Causality, Explanation, and Divine Concurrence.Kenneth Clatterbaugh - 1995 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 12 (2):195 - 207.
  46.  64
    Mental Models and Causal Explanation: Judgements of Probable Cause and Explanatory Relevance.Denis J. Hilton - 1996 - Thinking and Reasoning 2 (4):273 – 308.
    Good explanations are not only true or probably true, but are also relevant to a causal question. Current models of causal explanation either only address the question of the truth of an explanation, or do not distinguish the probability of an explanation from its relevance. The tasks of scenario construction and conversational explanation are distinguished, which in turn shows how scenarios can interact with conversational principles to determine the truth and relevance of explanations. The (...)
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  47. Counterfactuals and Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2002 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (1):41 – 72.
    This article defends the use of interventionist counterfactuals to elucidate causal and explanatory claims against criticisms advanced by James Bogen and Peter Machamer. Against Bogen, I argue that counterfactual claims concerning what would happen under interventions are meaningful and have determinate truth values, even in a deterministic world. I also argue, against both Machamer and Bogen, that we need to appeal to counterfactuals to capture the notions like causal relevance and causal mechanism. Contrary to what both authors (...)
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  48. 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 (...)
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  49. Two Kinds of Causal Explanation.George Botterill - 2010 - Theoria 76 (4):287-313.
    To give a causal explanation is to give information about causal history. But a vast amount of causal history lies behind anything that happens, far too much to be included in any intelligible explanation. This is the Problem of Limitation for explanatory information. To cope with this problem, explanations must select for what is relevant to and adequate for answering particular inquiries. In the present paper this idea is used in order to distinguish two kinds (...)
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  50.  9
    Scientific Discovery, Causal Explanation, and Process Model Induction.Pat Langley - 2019 - Mind and Society 18 (1):43-56.
    In this paper, I review two related lines of computational research: discovery of scientific knowledge and causal models of scientific phenomena. I also report research on quantitative process models that falls at the intersection of these two themes. This framework represents models as a set of interacting processes, each with associated differential equations that express influences among variables. Simulating such a quantitative process model produces trajectories for variables over time that one can compare to observations. Background knowledge about candidate (...)
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