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By A. Reutlinger

This primary complete size remedy of interventionist theories of causation within the social sciences, the organic sciences and different higher-level sciences the provides unique counter arguments to fresh traits within the debate and serves as important advent to the topic.

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Extra resources for A Theory of Causation in the Social and Biological Sciences

Sample text

Such definitions are to be judged by their usefulness for various purposes – in capturing previous usage, in clarifying notions that were previously unclear and distinguishing them from related but different notions, in establishing fruitful connections with other concepts and so on, rather than in terms of whether they adequately capture fundamental metaphysical relationships. ) The guiding thought behind this passage, combined with Woodward’s (2008: 193–6) insistence that he is not particularly interested in the metaphysics of causation, seems to be that his goal is the explication of causation for scientific (and also everyday) contexts.

Rather, the possibility of intervening is pictured here in a modally less restrictive sense. The key idea seems to be that interventionists want to say that, according to their theory of causation, it is, in principle, possible to intervene. Following this line of thought, Woodward (2003: 128) rejects the idea that interventions need to be physically possible; he requires merely that interventions be logically possible. This modal character of interventions will be discussed in Chapter 4. Invariance under interventions: Woodward requires that interventions on X do not alter the functional relationship Y = f(X) between variables.

Woodward’s approach) – that is, the concept of a possible intervention – is problematic. For this reason, it is argued that the interventionist theory of causation is not tenable. The main positive target of the book consists in replacing the interventionist approach with my own explication of causation in the special sciences, the comparative variability theory of causation (discussed in detail in Part III). In Chapter 3, it will be argued that interventionists fail to specify truth conditions for interventionist counterfactuals.

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