9781137281036

A Theory of Causation in the Social and Biological Sciences

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781137281036

  • ISBN10:

    1137281030

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-03-18
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

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Summary

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'smain negativetarget is to argue interventionist account of causation is not adequate. Where do interventionist accounts go wrong? Reutlinger argues that the central concept of the interventionist theories that is, the very concept of an intervention is tremendously problematic. Reutlinger'smain positiveclaim consists in replacing the interventionist approach by an alternative explication of causation in the special sciences, the comparative variability theory of causation. This alternative preserves many insights of the interventionist account without a commitment to the claim that causation and interventions are intimately tied together.

Author Biography

Alexander Reutlinger is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Cologne, Germany. His research is focussed on causation and laws in the social and biological sciences.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
PART I: CAUSATION IN THE SPECIAL SCIENCES AND THE INTERVENTIONIST THEORY OF CAUSATION
Causation in the Special Sciences
The Interventionist Explication of Causation
PART II: WHAT IS WRONG WITH INTERVENTIONIST THEORIES
Counterfactuals: A Problem for Interventionists?
Getting Rid of Interventions
Non-Universal Laws
Woodward Meets Russell: Does Causation fit into the World of Physics?
PART III: AN ALTERNATIVE THEORY OF CAUSATION IN SPECIAL SCIENCES
In Defense of Conceptually Non-Reductive Explications of Causation
The Comparative Variability Theory of Causation
Consequences
Bibliography
Index

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