dunnettreader + causation   54

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Political science is divided between methodological individualists, who seek to explain political phenomena by reference to individuals and their interactions, and holists (or nonreductionists), who consider some higher-level social entities or properties such as states, institutions, or cultures ontologically or causally significant. We propose a reconciliation between these two perspectives, building on related work in philosophy. After laying out a taxonomy of different variants of each view, we observe that (i) although political phenomena result from underlying individual attitudes and behavior, individual-level descriptions do not always capture all explanatorily salient properties, and (ii) nonreductionistic explanations are mandated when social regularities are robust to changes in their individual-level realization. We characterize the dividing line between phenomena requiring nonreductionistic explanation and phenomena permitting individualistic explanation and give examples from the study of ethnic conflicts, social-network theory, and international-relations theory. - downloaded via iphone to Dbox
positivism  emergence  reductionism  causation-social  critical_realism  epistemology-social  article  methodology  jstor  social_history  causation  downloaded  philosophy_of_social_science  individualism-methodology 
july 2017 by dunnettreader
Andrew Gelman - The problems with p-values are not just with p-values: My comments on the recent ASA statement - March 2016
His blog Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science -- The American Statistical Association just released a committee report on the use of p-values. I was one of the members of the committee but I did not write the…
Instapaper  quantitative_methods  statistics  social_sciences  uncertainty  probability  methodology-quantitative  scientific_culture  research  publishing-academic  pharma  causation  evidence  from instapaper
march 2016 by dunnettreader
E.J.Lowe, review essay. - Locke: Compatibilist Event-Causalist or Libertarian Substance-Causalist? (2004) | JSTOR - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Review essay - Yaffe, G., 2000. Liberty Worth the Name: Locke on Free Agency. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Vol. 68, No. 3 (May, 2004), pp. 688-701 - downloaded to iPhone - DBOX
agency  reviews  free_will  jstor  downloaded  Locke-Essay  intellectual_history  causation 
january 2016 by dunnettreader
Kuni Sakamoto - Pierre Gassendi's Reception of Keplerian Ideas | JSTOR Journal of the History of Ideas (Jan 2009)
The German Hercules's Heir: Pierre Gassendi's Reception of Keplerian Ideas -- Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 70, No. 1 (Jan., 2009), pp. 69-91 -- big interesting bibliography -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  intellectual_history  16thC  17thC  ancient_philosophy  natural_philosophy  natural_history  Plato  Aristotle  Pliny_the_Elder  Albert_Magnus  medieval_philosophy  astronomy  astrology  cosmology  Kepler  Gassendi  atomism  generation  divine_intellect  causation  mathematization  bibliography  downloaded 
january 2016 by dunnettreader
Adam Takahashi - Nature, Formative Power and Intellect in the Natural Philosophy of Albert the Great | JSTOR - Early Science and Medicine (2008)
Early Science and Medicine, Vol. 13, No. 5 (2008), pp. 451-481 -- The Dominican theologian Albert the Great (ca. 1200-1280) was one of the first to investigate into the system of the world on the basis of an acquaintance with the entire Aristotelian corpus, which he read under the influence of Islamic philosophers. The present study aims to understand the core of Albert's natural philosophy. Albert's emblematic phrase, "every work of nature is the work of intelligence" (omne opus naturae est opus intelligentiae), expresses the conviction that natural things are produced by the intellects that move the celestial bodies, just as houses are made by architects moving their instruments. Albert tried to fathom the secret of generation of natural things with his novel notion of "formative power" (virtus formativa), which flows from the celestial intellects into the sublunary elements. His conception of the natural world represents an alternative to the dominant medieval view on the relationship between the artificial and the natural. -- large bibliography of secondary sources post WWII -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  intellectual_history  medieval_philosophy  13thC  Albert_Magnus  natural_philosophy  Aristotle  Aristotelian  causation  cosmology  laws_of_nature  divine_intellect  generation  bibliography  downloaded 
january 2016 by dunnettreader
Philip Ball - Why story is used to explain symphonies and sport matches - Aeon
It’s a movie classic. The lovers are out for a walk when a villain dashes out of his house and starts fighting the man. The woman takes refuge in the house;…
neuroscience  evo_psych  narrative  complexity  causation  cognitive_bias  cognition  cognition-social  epistemology-naturalism  Instapaper  from instapaper
november 2015 by dunnettreader
G. A. Wells - Herder's Determinism | JSTOR - Journal of the History of Ideas (1958)
Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Jan., 1958), pp. 105-113 -- see also his follow up on how the German historicist school (Meinecke et al) found what they wanted to in Herder's works, distorting Herder in the process -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  intellectual_history  historiography  historiography-18thC  German_scholars  historicism  relativism  causation  causation-social  Herder  determinism  downloaded 
october 2015 by dunnettreader
Jared P. Friedman and Anthony I. Jack - Mapping cognitive structure onto philosophical debate re problems of consciousness, free will and ethics | Minds Online - Sept 2015 - Session 1 - Social Cognition
Mapping cognitive structure onto the landscape of philosophical debate: An empirical framework with relevance to problems of consciousness, free will and ethics -- Department of Philosophy and Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, Case Western Reserve University -- There are some seemingly intractable questions that have remained at the heart of philosophical discourse since they were first asked. Is the mind distinct from the brain or are we just physical stuff? Are we autonomous agents or merely at the mercy of the causal and mechanistic laws of nature? When, if ever, is it acceptable to sacrifice one for the greater good of many? That these questions have remained at the heart of philosophy for so long, and that their ‘solutions’ (e.g., monism vs. dualism) seem to be incommensurable with each other, strikes us as enigmatic. Might the intractable nature of these and other appropriately identified problems reflect something peculiar about us rather than something peculiar about the way the world is? (...) This account maintains that the difficulties reconciling markedly different philosophical responses to these three questions arise from an unavoidable tension between two anatomically independent and functionally inhibitory neural networks, both of which are essential to human understanding. This account is motivated by the observation that both philosophers and non-philosophers experience difficulty in reconciling competing responses to these questions. -- downloaded pdf to Note
paper  conference  cognition  antimonies  consciousness  mind-body  neuroscience  determinism  free_will  naturalism  physicalism  reductionism  causation  moral_philosophy  metaethics  intuitions  brain  experimental_philosophy  analytical_philosophy  James_William  monism  dualism  downloaded 
september 2015 by dunnettreader
Raymond BOUDON - LA RATIONALITÉ DU RELIGIEUX SELON MAX WEBER | JSTOR - L'Année sociologique - Vol. 51, No. 1 (2001), pp. 9-50
LA RATIONALITÉ DU RELIGIEUX SELON MAX WEBER - L'Année sociologique (1940/1948-), Troisième série, Vol. 51, No. 1 (2001), pp. 9-50 -- One of the most striking features of Weber's writings on religion is the frequency with which he uses the word rationality. This derives from the metatheory grounding in his mind the interpretative method. This metatheory asserts that the meaning to an individual of his beliefs should be seen as the main cause explaining why he endorses them. Weber's religion sociology owes its strength to this theoretical framework. His « rational » conception of religious beliefs does not imply that these beliefs derive from deliberation. They are rather transmitted to the social subject in the course of his socialisation. But they are accepted only if they are perceived by the subject as grounded. These principles inspire Weber's pages on magical beliefs, on animism, on the great religions, on the diffusion of monotheism, on theodicy or the world disenchantment. He shows that religious thinking cares on coherence, tends to verify and falsify religious dogmas by confronting them with observable facts. He develops a complex version of evolutionism, explaining the cases of irreversibility registered by the history of religions, but avoiding any fatalism. He rejects any depth psychology and any causalist psychology in his sociology of religion, the common rational psychology being the only one that can be easily made compatible with the notion of "Verstehende Soziologie", i.e. of « interpretative sociology ». Weber analyses the evolution of religious ideas supposing that they follow the same mechanisms as the evolution of ideas in other domains, as law, economics or science. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  sociology_of_religion  Weber  Boudon  rationality  causation  causation-social  religious_history  religious_belief  religious_culture  hermeneutics  social_theory  socialization  social_process  rationality-bounded  disenchantment  causation-evolutionary  psychology  mechanisms-social_theory  downloaded 
may 2015 by dunnettreader
Sven Ove Hansson -Risk (updated 2011) | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Since the 1970s, studies of risk have grown into a major interdisciplinary field of research. Although relatively few philosophers have focused their work on risk, there are important connections between risk studies and several philosophical subdisciplines. This entry summarizes the most well-developed of these connections and introduces some of the major topics in the philosophy of risk. It consists of six sections dealing with the definition of risk and with treatments of risk related to epistemology, the philosophy of science, the philosophy of technology, ethics, and the philosophy of economics.
1. Defining risk [including objective vs subjective and risk vs uncertainty - the latter comparison mostly formalized in decision tgeory]
2. Epistemology
3. Philosophy of science
4. Philosophy of technology
5. Ethics
6. Risk in economic analysis
Related Entries -- causation: in the law | causation: probabilistic | consequentialism | contractarianism | economics, philosophy of | game theory | luck: justice and bad luck | scientific knowledge: social dimensions of | technology, philosophy of
philosophy  epistemology  epistemology-social  epistemology-moral  causation  causation-social  probability  Bayesian  moral_philosophy  utilitarianism  utility  rights-legal  game_theory  philosophy_of_science  philosophy_of_social_science  economic_theory  behavioral_economics  financial_economics  sociology_of_knowledge  philosophy_of_law  risk  risk-mitigation  risk_management  uncertainty  rational_choice  rationality-economics 
february 2015 by dunnettreader
Seamus Bradley Imprecise Probabilities (Dec 2014) | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
It has been argued that imprecise probabilities are a natural and intuitive way of overcoming some of the issues with orthodox precise probabilities. Models of this type have a long pedigree, and interest in such models has been growing in recent years. This article introduces the theory of imprecise probabilities, discusses the motivations for their use and their possible advantages over the standard precise model. It then discusses some philosophical issues raised by this model. There is also a historical appendix which provides an overview of some important thinkers who appear sympathetic to imprecise probabilities. *-* Related Entries -- belief, formal representations of | epistemic utility arguments for probabilism | epistemology: Bayesian | probability, interpretations of | rational choice, normative: expected utility | statistics, philosophy of | vagueness
epistemology  philosophy_of_science  technology  probability  risk  uncertainty  rational_choice  rationality-economics  rationality  rationality-bounded  statistics  Bayesian  linguistics  causation  causation-social  causation-evolutionary  complexity  complex_adaptive_systems  utility  behavioral_economics  behavioralism  neuroscience  vagueness 
february 2015 by dunnettreader
Special Issue: Microfinance -- AEAweb: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics Vol. 7 No.1, Jan 2015
Abstract of introductory article -- Causal evidence on microcredit impacts informs theory, practice, and debates about its effectiveness as a development tool. The six randomized evaluations in this volume use a variety of sampling, data collection, experimental design, and econometric strategies to identify causal effects of expanded access to microcredit on borrowers and/or communities. These methods are deployed across an impressive range of locations—six countries on four continents, urban and rural areas—borrower characteristics, loan characteristics, and lender characteristics. Summarizing and interpreting results across studies, we note a consistent pattern of modestly positive, but not transformative, effects. We also discuss directions for future research. -- broad conclusion to be expected contra the hype -- but focus still seems to be on *credit* (with assumptions re micro and SME entrepreneurs and business formation) rather than access to services -- also question whether the former Yugoslavia study really dealt with "micro", likely the sort of labeling of SMEs as micro like Aftab's programs
journals-academic  article  paywall  microfinance  access_to_finance  development  economic_growth  economic_sociology  development-impact  RCT  econometrics  causation  causation-social  financial_sector_development  financial_economics  financial_access  institutional_economics  banking  credit  financial_innovation  SMEs  access_to_services  EF-add 
january 2015 by dunnettreader
Kevin Meeker, review - Frederick F. Schmitt, Hume's Epistemology in the Treatise (OUP) // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // September 09, 2014
This scholarly and philosophically rich treatment of Hume's epistemology furnishes a clear and comprehensive reading of Hume as a reliabilist about justified belief that is reminiscent of Alvin Goldman's naturalistic epistemology. One might worry that this is simply an anachronistic attempt to impose contemporary categories on Hume. One need not entertain such worries. ...he carefully connects Hume's concepts to contemporary ones and considerable attention relating Hume's views to Descartes, Malebranche, Newton and especially Locke. The book contains four major "divisions", and preceding the first division is a crucial chapter detailing the epistemological framework for this study -- In the first division, Schmitt notes that epistemologists from Plato's time have distinguished between knowledge and probability/belief/opinion - they have differed, though, on how to understand causal inferences in terms of this dichotomy. For Schmitt, although Hume mostly follows Locke's way of drawing the knowledge/probability distinction, Hume departs from Locke in wresting causal inferences from the domain of knowledge and placing them in the category of probability. According to Schmitt, Hume confronts this problem by arguing that knowledge and proofs produced by causal inferences are both types of justified belief because they are both forms of reliable belief. So there is no great gap between the epistemic status of knowledge and causal inferences. -- I hope that by now it is clear that the naturalistic, reliabilist epistemology that he attributes to Hume stands in stark contrast to the sceptical reading of Hume, according to which beliefs lack epistemic justification. -- copied full review to Evernote - put in Millican Treatise notebook
books  reviews  intellectual_history  17thC  18thC  Hume  epistemology  Descartes  Malebranche  Newton  Locke  Goldman_Alvin  scepticism  causation  epistemology-naturalism  inference  demonstration  fallibility  Evernote 
september 2014 by dunnettreader
Charlie Huenemann, review - Matthew J. Kisner and Andrew Youpa (eds.), Essays on Spinoza's Ethical Theory (OUP) // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // September 09, 2014
This volume presents a cohesive and engaging set of essays, converging on the question: was Spinoza frowning or smiling? ...as he surveyed the wide range of human moral phenomena, did he merely bemoan our superstitious beliefs and ignorant behaviors? Or did he see some of it as truly virtuous? But how can anything be virtuous, if all human actions are completely determined by an infinite substance that doesn't give a damn what happens? --...Charles Jarrett's essay forcefully presents the challenges of finding genuine morality in Spinoza's philosophy. As Jarrett reads him, Spinoza left himself no room to construct a meaningful "ideal" of human behavior. Indeed, "good" itself is misleading, as Spinoza "advocates or recommends that we take a perspective from which good and evil cannot be conceived. He thus seems... to advocate, a transcendence of ethics". -- Several essays take up Jarrett's challenge. -- Some of the essays are concerned with saving the possibility of Spinoza's morality from other doctrines he espoused. Michael LeBuffe ("Necessity and the Commands of Reason in the Ethics") -- Karolina Hübner rescues meaningful discourse about humanity as a whole in the face of Spinoza's disdain for universals. Eugene Marshall ("Man is a God to Man: How Humans can be Adequate Causes") defends the intelligibility, within Spinoza's determinism, that some actions can be autonomous and hence "free". -- Some of the essays provide broad and masterful perspective... meditations on the nature and significance of Spinoza's ethical project. -- A final trio of essays connects Spinoza's morality with the claims regarding "eternity" in Part V of the Ethics. These are especially welcome, as Spinoza's mystical claims are sometimes treated as an embarrassment or as a separate island of befuddlement. -- there is not a single clunker in the lot. The introduction is a thoughtful overview of the terrain that also provides a useful integration of the chapters that follow. If you are studying Spinoza's ethical theory, you need this book.
books  reviews  intellectual_history  17thC  Spinoza  metaphysics  moral_philosophy  determinism  free_will  causation  good  evil  infinity  virtue 
september 2014 by dunnettreader
Jeffrey K. McDonough, review - Justin E. H. Smith, Divine Machines: Leibniz and the Sciences of Life // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // April 17, 2012
Justin E. H. Smith, Divine Machines: Leibniz and the Sciences of Life, Princeton University Press, 2011, 392pp., $45.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780691141787.
Reviewed by Jeffrey K. McDonough, Harvard University -- It is widely recognized that Leibniz's philosophical thought is deeply influenced by the mathematics, physics and philosophical theology of his era. Justin E. H. Smith's Divine Machines argues that many of Leibniz's most central philosophical doctrines are similarly bound up with the life sciences of his time, where the "life sciences" are understood very broadly to include fields as diverse as alchemy, medicine, taxonomy, and paleontology. Smith's groundbreaking exploration represents an important contribution to our understanding of both Leibniz's philosophy and the study of life in the early modern era. It is to be recommended to historians, philosophers, and historians of philosophy alike. Below I highlight four central topics in Smith's book, raising some reservations along the way.
books  reviews  kindle-available  intellectual_history  17thC  Leibniz  history_of_science  philosophy_of_science  metaphysics  monads  causation  species  teleology  anatomy  biology  medicine  microscope  fossils  reproduction  theodicy  creation  mechanism  organism 
september 2014 by dunnettreader
Jeff McDonough's CV - Harvard University - Philosophy Department
Areas of Specialization: Early Modern Philosophy, History and Philosophy of Science. -- Areas of Competence:Medieval Philosophy, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion -- papers, conference presentations focus on Leibniz with some Berkeley, Hume
academia  intellectual_history  history_of_science  philosophy_of_science  metaphysics  philosophy_of_religion  17thC  18thC  Leibniz  Berkeley  causation  teleology  theodicy  Descartes  Spinoza  Hume  Malebranche  bibliography 
september 2014 by dunnettreader
Richard Marshall interview - Jeffrey K. McDonough -Leibniz, Berkeley, Kant, Frege; bees, toasters and Julius Caesar » 3:AM Magazine - September 2014
Good overview of different approaches to Leibniz. Causation and relation of divine and creaturely activity - Scholastics, Berkeley, Malebranche, Leibniz. Difference between Malebranche and Berkeley’s idealism. Kant on refutation of idealism re Cartesian scepticism of external world.
intellectual_history  17thC  18thC  Leibniz  Berkeley  Malebranche  Kant  substance  metaphysics  causation  teleology  theodicy  creation  mind-body  volition  mechanism  physics  philosophy_of_science  history_of_science  optics  idealism  scepticism  EF-add 
september 2014 by dunnettreader
George F.R. Ellis | Personal Page
Links to extensive number of books he has authored or co-authored and to speeches and papers -- Teaching and research interests: *-* General Relativity theory and its application to the study of the large-scale structure of the universe (cosmology). *-* The history and philosophy of cosmology. *-* Complex systems and emergence of complexity. *- * The human brain and behaviour. *-* Science policy, developmental issues. *-* Science and mathematics education. *-* The relation of science to religion.
philosophy_of_science  philosophy_of_religion  cosmology  physics  neuroscience  mind  mind-body  reductionism  causation  emergence  complexity  systems_theory  systems-complex_adaptive  science-and-religion  EF-add 
september 2014 by dunnettreader
Trevor A. Harley - History lessons: what can we learn about history? | Rethinking History Vol. 18, Iss. 3, 2014 - Taylor & Francis Online
What can we learn from the past? This paper examines the nature of the past and discusses the extent to which historical outcomes are robust over different starting conditions, using primarily the example of the origin of the Great War. It reviews the mathematical and psychological literature on complexity theory, and considers the idea that history can indeed in some circumstances be robust across initial conditions. I introduce the notion of a dynamic historical attractor to account for the way in which the past unfolds over time, and relate dynamic attractors to post-modern approaches to historical interpretation. -- Keywords: complexity, chaos, dynamic historical attractors, alternative histories, causality, narrative, post-modernism -- T&F paywall
article  paywall  historiography  causation-social  causation  complexity  chaos_theory  dynamic_attractors  counterfactuals  narrative  narrative-contested  postmodern  WWI  contingency  social_theory  EF-add 
august 2014 by dunnettreader
Lucy Allais - Intrinsic Natures: A Critique of Langton on Kant | JSTOR: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 73, No. 1 (Jul., 2006), pp. 143-169
This paper argues that there is an important respect in which Rae Langton's recent interpretation of Kant is correct: Kant's claim that we cannot know things in themselves should be understood as the claim that we cannot know the intrinsic nature of things. However, I dispute Langton's account of intrinsic properties, and therefore her version of what this claim amounts to. Langton's distinction between intrinsic, causally inert properties and causal powers is problematic, both as an interpretation of Kant, and as an independent metaphysical position. I propose a different reading of the claim that we cannot know things intrinsically. I distinguish between two ways of knowing things: in terms of their effects on other things, and as they are apart from these. I argue that knowing things' powers is knowing things in terms of effects on other things, and therefore is not knowing them as they are in themselves, and that there are textual grounds for attributing this position to Kant. -- useful bibliography of past few decades of both Kant debate and powers, properties etc metaphysics -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  books  intellectual_history  18thC  Kant  metaphysics  epistemology  causation  Hume-causation  Locke  Leibniz  noumena  phenomena  properties  essence  substance  relations  bibliography  downloaded  EF-add 
august 2014 by dunnettreader
Galen Strawson - Realism and Causation | JSTOR: The Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 148 (Jul., 1987), pp. 253-277
This looks like early work towards his "necessary connexion" book on Hume that challenges the standard regularity interpretation of Hume on causality. Bibliography looks useful -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  metaphysics  intellectual_history  philosophy_of_science  18thC  Hume-causation  causation  realism  scepticism  positivism  properties  laws_of_nature  powers  downloaded  EF-add 
august 2014 by dunnettreader
Stuart Glennan - Aspects of Human Historiographic Explanation: A View from the Philosophy of Science (2014)
While some philosophers of history have argued that explanations in human history are of a fundamentally different kind than explanations in the natural sciences, I shall argue that this is not the case. Human beings are part of nature, human history is part of natural history, and human historical explanation is a species of natural historical explanation. In this paper I shall use a case study from the history of the American Civil War to show the variety of close parallels between natural and human historical explanation. In both instances, I shall argue that these explanations involve narrative descriptions of causal mechanisms. I shall show how adopting a mechanistic approach to explanation can provide resources to address some important aspects of human historiographic explanation, including problems concerning event individuation, historical meaning, agency, the role of laws, and the nature of contingency. -- This is a preprint version of this chapter. The final publication is available to purchase at Springer. -- Glennan, Stuart. "Aspects of Human Historiographic Explanation: A View from the Philosophy of Science." Explanation in the Special Sciences: The Case of Biology and History. Eds. Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver R. Scholz, Daniel Plenge, and Andreas Hüttemann. Dordrecht: Springer, 2014. 273-291. -- downloaded pdf to Note
historiography  history_of_science  causation  causation-social  mechanisms-social_theory  natural_history  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Devin Henry - "Aristotle's Pluralistic Realism" | The Monist 94.2 (2011): 198-222
The University of Western Ontario -- In this paper I explore Aristotle’s views on natural kinds and the compatibility of pluralism and realism, a topic that has generated considerable interest among contemporary philosophers. I argue that, when it came to zoology, Aristotle denied that there is only one way of organizing the diversity of the living world into natural kinds that will yield a single, unified system of classification. Instead, living things can be grouped and regrouped into various cross-cutting kinds on the basis of objective similarities and differences in ways that subserve the explanatory context. Since the explanatory aims of zoology are diverse and variegated, the kinds it recognizes must be equally diverse and variegated. At the same time, there are certain constraints on which kinds can be selected. And those constraints derive more from the causal structure of the world than from the proclivities of the classifier (hence the realism). This distinguishes Aristotle’s version of pluralistic realism from those contemporary versions (like Dupré’s “promiscuous realism”) that treat all or most classifications of a given domain as equally legitimate and not just a sub-set of kinds recognized by the science that studies it. By contrast, Aristotle privileges scientifically important kinds on the basis of their role in causal investigations. On this picture natural kinds are those kinds with the sort of causal structure that allows them to enter into scientific explanations. In the final section I argue that Aristotle’s zoology should remain of interest to philosophers and biologists alike insofar as it combines a pluralistic form of realism with a rank-free approach to classification. - didn't download
article  intellectual_history  Aristotle  history_of_science  philosophy_of_science  ancient_philosophy  analytical_philosophy  natural_kinds  classification  species  explanation  causation  biology  animals  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
"Adventures in Rationalism" by Michael Della Rocca
Michael Della Rocca, Yale University -- Rationalism is the thesis that the world and all the things in the world are intelligible, through and through. Nothing happens for no reason. On the contrary, whatever takes place, whatever exists, takes place or exists for a reason. Everything. On this view there are no brute facts. Each thing that exists has a reason that is sufficient for explaining the existence of the thing. According to perhaps the most extreme implication of this view, even the world itself, the totality of all that exists, exists for a reason, has an explanation. Many philosophers today think that rationalism is a crazy view. However, this paper argues in support of rationalism, and explores its implications. -- Della Rocca, Michael (2013) "Adventures in Rationalism," Philosophic Exchange: Vol. 43: Iss. 1, Article 1. -- downloaded pdf to Note
intellectual_history  metaphysics  rationalist  causation  cosmology  Leibniz  Spinoza  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Brian Leiter - Science and Morality: Pragmatic Reflections on Rorty's Pragmatism (2007) :: SSRN - University of Chicago Law Review, 2007
U of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 128 -- This is an invited commentary on Richard Rorty's Dewey Lecture, given last year at the University of Chicago Law School. "Pragmatism," says Rorty, "puts natural science on all fours with politics and art. It is one more source of suggestions about what to do with our lives." I argue that the truth in pragmatism - that the epistemic norms that help us cope are the ones on which we rely - is obscured by Rorty's promiscuous version of the doctrine, which confuses the criteria for relying on particular epistemic norms (namely, that they work for human purposes) with the content of the norms themselves (most of which make no reference to human purposes, but rather criteria like causal or explanatory power). We need presuppose no Archmiedean standpoint to conclude, as Richard Posner does, that moral inquiry is feeble in a way physics is not; we need only take seriously our best current understanding of the world, how it works, and the epistemic norms that have proven most effective in making sense of it. -- Number of Pages in PDF File: 13 -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  SSRN  intellectual_history  20thC  Rorty  pragmatism  analytical_philosophy  epistemology  Quine  Sellars  naturalism  anti-foundationalism  causation  epistemology-moral  relativism  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Brian Leiter - Legal Realisms, Old and New :: SSRN (2012 Seegers Lecture in Jurisprudence) - Forthcoming in Valparaiso Law Review (2013)
“Legal Realism” now has sufficient cache that scholars from many different fields and countries compete to claim the mantle of the "Realist program": from political scientists who study judicial behavior, to the "law and society" scholars associated with the Wisconsin New Legal Realism project, to philosophers interested in a naturalized jurisprudence. But what does it mean to be a “legal realist”? What unites the two most famous “old” Legal Realisms — the American and the Scandinavian — with the “new legal realism” invoked, variously, by sociologists, anthropologists, and political scientists, among others? -- I argue that (1) American and Scandinavian Realism have almost nothing in common — indeed, that H.L.A. Hart misunderstood the latter as he did the former, and that the Scandinavians are closer to Hart and even Kelsen than they are to the Americans; (2) all Realists share skepticism about the causal efficacy of legal doctrine in explaining judicial decisions ("the Skeptical Doctrine") (though the Scandinavian skepticism on this score is not at all specific to the legal domain, encompassing all explanation in terms of norms); (3) American Realism almost entirely eschewed social-scientific methods in its defense of the Skeptical Doctrine, contrary to the impression given by much recent work by "new" legal realists; (4) the myth that the American Realists were seriously interested in social science derives mainly from two unrepresentative examples, Underhill Moore's behaviorism and Llewellyn's work with the Cheyenne Indians. -- Keywords: American legal realism, Scandinavian legal realism, Karl Llewellyn, Axel Hagerstrom, Alf Ross, naturalism, H.L.A. Hart, Hans Kelsen, judicial behavior
article  SSRN  philosophy_of_law  social_theory  intellectual_history  intellectual_history-distorted  legal_theory  legal_realism  social_sciences  anthropology  sociology_of_law  normativity  norms  causation  causation-social  positivism-legal  naturalism  social_process  judiciary  behavioralism  Hart  Kelsen  US_legal_system  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Matthijs Lof, Tuomas Malinen - The growth and sovereign debt correlation | vox , 25 May 2014
Rogoff and Reinhart not only invented the tipping point, they got the causality backwards so not just no justification for austerity, the case for stimulus is stronger -- Public debt and economic growth are historically negatively correlated. This column discusses new evidence that rejects the debt-to-growth causality. After estimating the effects between debt and growth in both directions, there is no evidence that high indebtedness suppresses economic growth. The effect of growth on debt is the main driver of the negative correlation
paper  economic_theory  economic_models  macroeconomics  econometrics  sovereign_debt  public_finance  economic_growth  austerity  causation  EF-add 
june 2014 by dunnettreader
JOSE R. TORRE - The Teleology of Political Economy and Moral Philosophy in the Age of the Anglo-American Enlightenment | JSTOR: Early American Studies, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Fall 2010), pp. 646-671
"An Inward Spring of Motion and Action": The Teleology of Political Economy and Moral Philosophy in the Age of the Anglo-American Enlightenment -- The Enlightenment-era narratives of political economy and moral philosophy shared an epistemic base and theory of causation that understood the human experience as a self-realizing or immanent teleology driving toward a providential and benevolent outcome. In political economy the pursuit of personal wealth and satisfaction tended naturally to a benevolent equilibrium without the knowledge or intent of the agent. In moral philosophy the agent acted intuitively and unconsciously to satisfy immediate emotional desires that culminated in pleasure but nevertheless improved society. The teleology of both these narratives derived from a series of larger shifts in human psychology and ideas from an early modern and Reformation-era theological voluntarism to an Enlightenment-era Neoplatonic and Aristotelian theory of humanity and nature. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  intellectual_history  18thC  British_history  Atlantic  American_colonies  Enlightenment  Scottish_Enlightenment  moral_sentiments  moral_philosophy  political_economy  causation  teleology  human_nature  moral_psychology  passions  Neoplatonism  voluntarism  Augustinian  Aristotelian  natural_philosophy  natural_law  cosmology  Providence  hedonistic  utilitarianism  bibliography  downloaded  EF-add 
may 2014 by dunnettreader
Richard Marshall interview with Lisa Downing - Early Mod philosophy » 3:AM Magazine - May 2014
Lisa Downing is the philosopher who thinks all the time about the early modern philosophers of Europe, especially 17th and 18th century philosophy, about how philosophical analysis and historical exactitude compliment each other, on adding to the canonical philosophers of the period, on why Malebranch is the closest to re-entry, and Robert Boyle, on Descartes vs Newton, on avoiding anachronism, on the dynamism of the period, on primary and secondary qualities, on resisting the idea that historical views have to be relevant, on Berkeley, on tensions in Locke, on women philosophers of the time and on rejecting the occult. This one is kick-ass! Yo!
intellectual_history  17thC  18thC  Descartes  Cartesian  Malebranche  Locke  Boyle  Berkeley  Newton  Clarke  Leibniz  Hobbes  mind-body  causation  God-attributes  Providence  mechanism  substance  metaphysics  Aristotelian  qualia  perception  natural_philosophy  free_will  Scientific_Revolution  EF-add 
may 2014 by dunnettreader
Anya Plutynski, review - Hsiang-Ke Chao, Szu-Ting Chen, and Roberta L. Millstein (eds.), Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // March 2014
Reviewed by Anya Plutynski, Washington University in St. Louis -- while the themes are consistent, the authors' examples, approaches and conclusions were not. I take this to be one of the strengths of the volume: reading it is like listening in on a conversation among amicable but not always like-minded peers. Some authors place a good deal of emphasis on the utility of the mechanistic perspective in addressing core problems in philosophy of science (Darden, Carl Craver and Marie Kaiser, Steel); others see mechanism as less central to characterizing scientific explanation, method, or discovery, at least in some domains (Till Grüne-Yanoff, David Teirra and Julian Reiss). While the dividing lines are not always so sharp, one can draw some rough and general conclusions: while thinking in terms of mechanisms can be enormously important, especially in applied contexts where concerns of intervention and control dominate, there are a wide array of open philosophical questions about how we use formal models in representing dynamical behavior, what kinds of statistical tools are best at assessing causal relationships, and when we have a causal relation in general that may or may not avail itself of mechanistic thinking. It seems that when and why thinking in terms of mechanism is of use is a very context specific matter.
books  reviews  philosophy_of_science  mechanism  mechanisms-social_theory  causation  causation-evolutionary  evolutionary_biology  economic_theory  economic_models  statistics  EF-add 
march 2014 by dunnettreader
Alastair Wilson, review - Stephen Mumford and Matthew Tugby (eds.), Metaphysics and Science // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // Feb 2014
This volume has two main aims. One is to collect together high-quality work from the intersection of metaphysics and the philosophy of science. In this, it succeeds admirably; the essays will be essential reading for anyone working seriously on laws of nature, dispositions, natural kinds, or emergence. The second aim is to demarcate and exemplify the discipline of metaphysics of science, which the editors set out to define in their introduction. Success here is less clear-cut, and there is room for doubt about the value of the definition project.
books  reviews  philosophy_of_science  metaphysics  causation  kinds  emergence 
march 2014 by dunnettreader
Brian Leiter, review - Christopher Janaway, Beyond Selflessness: Reading Nietzsche's Genealogy // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // (2007)
.. this intelligent and illuminating book, which aims to defend two rather precise theses about reading Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morality: first, that Nietzsche's method of writing is intended to engage the reader emotionally or affectively; and second, that such affective engagement is a necessary precondition for altering the reader's views about evaluative questions -- that "without the rhetorical provocations, without the revelation of what we find gruesome, shaming, embarrassing, comforting, and heart-warming we would neither comprehend nor be able to revalue our current values". -- Janaway and I are farther apart with respect to Nietzsche's conception of human agency and freedom. Janaway takes the passage on "the sovereign individual" (GM II:2) as giving expression to Nietzsche's "positive conception of free will" as "involv[ing] acting fully within one's character, knowing its limits and capabilities, and valuing oneself for what one is rather than for one's conformity to an external standard or to what one ought to be". It seems to me a mistake, however, to read this passage as articulating a kind of ideal of agency or selfhood; in context, I think it is far more plausible to understand the passage as being wholly ironic and mocking. -- very useful re Leiter view of both Hume and Nietzsche's "science of man" based on "speculative naturalism"
books  reviews  intellectual_history  18thC  19thC  Germany  Nietzsche  Hume  naturalism  science_of_man  moral_psychology  free_will  causation  agency  EF-add 
march 2014 by dunnettreader
Dermot Moran, review - Steven Crowell, Normativity and Phenomenology in Husserl and Heidegger // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // Feb 2014
C Normativity and Phenomenology in Husserl and Heidegger, Cambridge University Press, 2013, 321pp., $29.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781107682559.

Reviewed by University College Dublin

Steven Crowell's latest monograph is a careful and nuanced thematic and historically grounded defense of the philosophical importance of what is now frequently called "classical" phenomenology (specifically Husserl and Heidegger) in addressing the issues of meaning, normativity, agency and first-person knowledge, topics central to contemporary analytic philosophy of mind and action. This well argued book situates Husserl and Heidegger not just at the center of contemporary debates in the philosophy of mind and action, but also as interlocutors in current disputes over normativity and practical knowledge (as found in the neo-pragmatism of John McDowell and Robert Brandom, among others), as well as the current discussions concerning first-person authority and mental content.

Crowell is not just conversant with the intricacy of the texts of Husserl and Heidegger (whom he reads with detailed documentation as in substantial agreement with one another), but also with a wide range of figures in contemporary philosophy of mind, moral psychology, and neo-pragmatism, including John Searle, Hubert Dreyfus, Alva Noë, Richard Moran (no relation), and Christine Korsgaard). In the course of his interpretations of Husserl and Heidegger, moreover, Crowell has a lot of instructive (and corrective) things to say about such issues as mental content, internalism and externalism, causation, the relation between perception and conception, the connection between self-consciousness and normativity, the transparency and immediacy of self-knowledge (in an interesting engagement with Moran) and the meaning of agency (including moral agency) in relation to Heidegger's notion of authenticity. This is a very rich, often dense but never less than lucid book that offers a systematic defense of phenomenology in the language of contemporary philosophy and thereby achieves a double objective, namely to set a new agenda for phenomenological discussion in the twenty-first century and to show why analytic philosophers would be wrong to neglect the phenomenological heritage.
books  reviews  kindle-available  philosophy  phenomenology  Husserl  Heidegger  idealism-transcendental  mind  action-theory  normativity  consciousness  responsibility  conscience  perception  causation  mind-body  agency  moral_psychology  Kant  analytical_philosophy  meaning  concepts  pragmatism  authenticity  EF-add 
march 2014 by dunnettreader
Eric D. Beinhocker : Reflexivity, complexity, and the nature of social science - Journal of Economic Methodology [Soros special issue] - Volume 20, Issue 4 - Taylor & Francis Online
pages 330-342 -- downloaded pdf to Note -- In 1987, George Soros introduced his concepts of reflexivity and fallibility and has further developed and applied these concepts over subsequent decades. This paper attempts to build on Soros's framework, provide his concepts with a more precise definition, and put them in the context of recent thinking on complex adaptive systems. The paper proposes that systems can be classified along a ‘spectrum of complexity’ and that under specific conditions not only social systems but also natural and artificial systems can be considered ‘complex reflexive.’ The epistemological challenges associated with scientifically understanding a phenomenon stem not from whether its domain is social, natural, or artificial, but where it falls along this spectrum. Reflexive systems present particular challenges; however, evolutionary model-dependent realism provides a bridge between Soros and Popper and a potential path forward for economics.
article  philosophy_of_science  philosophy_of_social_science  epistemology  methodology  complexity  Soros  reflexivity  intentionality  evolution-as-model  Popper  scientific_method  downloaded  EF-add  systems-complex_adaptive  systems-reflexive  systems_theory  economic_theory  economic_models  EMH  rationality-economics  rational_expectations  information-markets  cognition  cognition-social  falsification  neuroscience  uncertainty  laws_of_nature  covering_laws  causation  explanation  prediction 
january 2014 by dunnettreader
Peter Millican - Hume, Causal Realism, and Causal Science | JSTOR: Mind, New Series, Vol. 118, No. 471 (Jul., 2009), pp. 647-712
The 'New Hume' interpretation, which sees Hume as a realist about 'thick' Causal powers, has been largely motivated by his evident commitment to causal language and causal science. In this, however, it is fundamentally misguided, failing to recognise how Hume exploits his anti-realist conclusions about (upper-case) Causation precisely to support (lower-case) causal science. When critically examined, none of the standard New Humean arguments—familiar from the work of Wright, Craig, Strawson, Buckle, Kail, and others—retains any significant force against the plain evidence of Hume's texts. But the most devastating objection comes from Hume's own applications of his analysis of causation, to the questions of 'the immateriality of the soul' and 'liberty and necessity'. These show that the New Hume interpretation has misunderstood the entire purpose of his 'Chief Argument', and presented him as advocating some of the very positions he is arguing most strongly against. -- paywall Oxford Journals 7 years until jstor
article  jstor  paywall  intellectual_history  18thC  Hume  causation  scepticism  soul  free_will  determinism  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader
Daniel Little - Guest post by Ruth Groff on causal powers | Understanding Society Jan 2014
Do you have to be an Aristotelian to believe in causal powers? -- Discusses 5 separate factors that together might be construed as a coherent Aristotelian position (leaving out teleological purpose of powers) which anti-passivists may or may not share. 1. Materialism, 2. Potentiality, 3. Essential properties, 4. Emergence (whole more than sum of parts or plurality), 5. Powers as capacity for doing. She points out that both Locke and Leibniz accepted powers without Locke at least being Aristotelian. She concludes that one can coherently accept causal powers without embracing all 5, although materialism and potentiality are fairly natural fits with powers, and something along the lines of essential properties is required to differentiate what things have or are characterized by specific powers and which are not. Emergence looks to her like comfortable but not necessary fit. As asides to her main discussion of "anti-passivists" are her characterizations of Hume on causation, which seems to me typical of 20thC interpretations of Hume as arch sceptic and denier of causation - as distinct from his denial of *knowledge* as an academic sceptic and, therefore, his assertion that it's unwarranted to extend names we give to things we experience but don't understand (eg powers) to metaphysical or theological speculation. She is not taking the "academic sceptic" interpretation of Hume -- simply saying we can't explain causal powers but can only identify regularity of connection. Instead, she quotes him that "power" is meaningless -- but Hume didn't deny gravity as causal factor but rather that we couldn't explain what gravity is in an "essential" sense beyond regular connections that had predictable outcomes -- calling gravity a "power" didn't add any explanatory information to gravity's causality or enlighten us about other causally relevant features of the physical world that we also label "powers", and certainly didn't warrant willy nilly applying "power" to our metaphysical and theological fantasies.
causation-social  social_theory  causation  neo-Aristotelian  Hume-causation  emergence  scepticism 
january 2014 by dunnettreader
Haskell Fain, review essay - Plausible Worlds: Possibility and Understanding in History and the Social Sciences by Geoffrey Hawthorn | JSTOR: History and Theory, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Feb., 1993), pp. 83-90
Fain doesn't think much of the book, but provides a quite interesting potted history of the nomothetic vs ideographic "sciences", Popper-Hempel covering law, responses in 20thC analytical philosophy dealing with possible worlds and counterfactuals (eg Nelson Goodman), and overall explanation vs causation approaches to history, "events" and social sciences. Didn't download paper. May be helpful in sorting out what has Martin so riled in his Explanation of Social Action (see Kindle)
books  reviews  jstor  kindle  20thC  intellectual_history  causation  causation-social  covering_laws  social_theory  historiography  counterfactuals  epistemology  analytical_philosophy  EF-add 
december 2013 by dunnettreader
Daniel Little - Understanding Society: What is reduction? Sept 2013
Discusses Wimsatt re models of (good and bad) reduction in biology - paper downloaded to Note -- His article "Reductionism and its heuristics: Making methodological reductionism honest" is particularly useful (link). Wimsatt distinguishes among three varieties of reductionism in the philosophy of science: inter-level reductive explanations, same-level reductive theory succession, and eliminative reduction (448).
social_theory  ontology-social  ontology  philosophy_of_science  causation  reductionism  downloaded  EF-add 
november 2013 by dunnettreader
Daniel Little - Understanding Society: Meso causes and microfoundations | September 10 2013
In earlier posts I've paid attention to the need for microfoundations and the legitimacy of meso-level causation. And I noted that there seems to be a prima facie tension between the two views in the philosophy of social science. I believe the two are compatible if we understand the microfoundations thesis as a claim about social ontology and not about explanation, and if we interpret it in a weak rather than a strong way. Others have also found this tension to be of interest. The September issue of The Philosophy of the Social Sciences" provides a very interesting set of articles on this set of issues.

Particularly interesting is a contribution by Tuukka Kaidesoja, "Overcoming the Biases of Microfoundations: Social Mechanisms and Collective Agents".
social_theory  microfoundations  causation  mechanism  mesolevel  organizations  critical_realism  EF-add 
september 2013 by dunnettreader
Daniel Little - Understanding Society: Social mechanisms and meso-level causes September 2013
Paper downloaded to Note -- blog post summarizes and has lots of links to useful recent lit -- (This post summarizes a paper I presented at the British Society for the Philosophy of Science Annual Meeting in 2012.)

Here and elsewhere I want to defend the theoretical possibility of attributing causal powers to meso-level social entities and structures. In this I follow a number of philosophers and sociologists, including many critical realists (e.g. Roy Bhaskar, A Realist Theory of Science and Margaret Archer, Realist Social Theory: The Morphogenetic Approach) and also the recent thinking of Dave Elder-Vass (The Causal Power of Social Structures). But I also defend the idea of an actor-centered sociology, according to which the substance of social phenomena is entirely made up of the actions, interactions, and states of mind of socially constituted individual actors. Making out both positions, and demonstrating their consistency, is the work of this paper. I refer to this position as “relative explanatory autonomy” of the meso-level. This topic is of renewed interest because of the current influence and progress of analytical sociology (Peter Hedström, Dissecting the Social: On the Principles of Analytical Sociology; Hedström and Bearman, The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology ; Peter Demeulenaere, Analytical Sociology and Social Mechanisms), which offers an emphatic “no” to the question; whereas critical realists are equally firm in defending an affirmative answer to the question.
social_theory  philosophy_of_science  ontology-social  microfoundations  causation  mesolevel  mechanism  critical_realism  downloaded  EF-add 
september 2013 by dunnettreader
Patrick Thaddeus Jackson and Daniel H. Nexon: International theory in a post-paradigmatic era: From substantive wagers to scientific ontologies | Special Issue End of IR Theory? - European Journal of International Relations September 2013
Concerns about the end of International Relations theory pivot around at least three different issues: the fading of the ‘paradigm wars’ associated with the 1990s and early 2000s; the general lack of any sort of ‘great debate’ sufficient to occupy the attention of large portions of the field; and claims about the vibrancy of middle-range theorizing. None of these are terribly helpful when it comes to assessing the health of International Relations theory. We argue that international theory involves scientific ontologies of world politics: topographies of entities, processes, mechanisms, and how they relate to one another. Understood this way, the state of International Relations theory looks strong: there is arguably more out there than ever before. Ironically, this cornucopia helps explain concerns regarding the end of International Relations theory. In the absence of a ‘great debate,’ let alone ways of organizing contemporary International Relations theory, this diversity descends into cacophony. We submit that three major clusters of international theory are emerging: choice-theoretic, experience-near, and social-relational. These clusters map onto two major axes of contention: (1) the degree that actors should be treated as autonomous from their environment; and (2) the importance of thickly contextual analysis. These disputes are both field-wide and high-stakes, even if we do not always recognize them as such...... Keywords: choice-theoretical, experience-near, great debates, International Relations theory, paradigms, scientific ontology, social-relational...... doi: 10.1177/1354066113495482 - European Journal of International Relations, September 2013 vol. 19 no. 3, 543-565 -- uploaded to Dropbox
article  IR_theory  social_theory  philosophy_of_science  ontology-social  networks  causation  thick_analysis  agents  downloaded  EF-add 
september 2013 by dunnettreader
Paul Schuurman : Determinism and Causal Feedback Loops in Montesquieu's Explanations for the MilitaryRise and Fall of Rome (2013) | T & F Online
British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Volume 21, Issue 3, 2013, pages 507- 528, Available online: 23 May 2013, DOI: 10.1080/09608788.2013.771612 -- Montesquieu's Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence (1733/1734) is a methodological exercise in causal explanation on the meso-level applied to the subject of the military rise and fall of Rome. Rome is described as a system with contingent initial conditions that have a strong path-determining effect. Contingent and plastic initial configurations become highly determining in their subsequent operation, thanks to self-reinforcing feedback loops. Montesquieu's method seems influenced by the ruthless commitment to efficient causality and the reductionism of seventeenth-century mechanicist philosophy; but in contrast to these predecessors, he is more interested in dynamic processes than in unchangeable substances, and his use of efficient causality in the context of a system approach implies a form of holism that is lacking in his predecessors. The formal and conceptual analysis in this article is in many ways complementary with Paul Rahe's recent predominantly political analysis of the Considérations. At the same time, this article points to a problem in the works on the Enlightenment by Jonathan Israel: his account stresses a one-dimensional continuum consisting of Radical, Moderate and Counter-Enlightenment. This invites Israel to place the combined religious, political and philosophical views of each thinker on one of these three points. His scheme runs into trouble when a thinker with moderate religious and political views produces radical philosophical concepts. Montesquieu's Considérations is a case in point.
article  paywall  intellectual_history  18thC  Montesquieu  ancient_Rome  Roman_Republic  Roman_Empire  military_history  lessons-of-history  determinism  causation  social_theory  mechanism  path-dependency  historiography  Enlightenment  Radical_Enlightenment  Counter-Enlightenment  find  EF-add 
september 2013 by dunnettreader
John E. Hare review: Angus Ritchie, From Morality to Metaphysics: The Theistic Implications of our Ethical Commitments // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews August 2013
The book looks awful but the review is quite interesting Ritchie's use of or failure to use the history of philosophy. Ritchie undertakes to show the failures of axiarchism, the view that the good has a causal role, making things to be a certain way just because it is good for them to be that way. This is a version of final causation, and is familiar to anyone who knows Aristotelian metaphysics. When Ritchie comes to discuss axiarchism without divine purposes, which is Aristotle's position, Aristotle is not mentioned. The whole move from teleology in nature (what was called in the nineteenth century 'teleonomy') to teleology confined to the purposes of designers (as in Duns Scotus, for example) is examined as though there had not been centuries of discussion about it. ..... The other quibble is about Robert M. Adams. Ritchie attributes to Adams the view that because God is loving, God will perform the most loving action (169). But Adams would deny the maximization thesis implied here. More importantly, Ritchie thinks that if we ground moral obligation in God's character as loving, that means we do not ground it in God's will. Adams would deny the dichotomy here, because he thinks that God's willing and God's character are necessarily harmonious (Finite and Infinite Goods, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, 47f). For Adams, God does constitute our obligations by command, which is an expression of will, but it is the expression of a loving will, not an arbitrary one (except in the antique sense of 'arbitrary' in which it means 'within a person's discretion,' in Latin arbitrium).
books  reviews  theism  metaethics  evolution  God-attributes  voluntarism  causation  teleology  obligation  EF-add 
august 2013 by dunnettreader
UnderstandingSociety: Causal inference and random trials | June 2013
Nancy Cartwright re causation, this time in medical and social interventions.
Her current book Evidence-Based Policy: A Practical Guide to Doing It Better (with Jeremy Hardie) provides a different critical perspective on causal inference, this time in the context of social policy reasoning. 

, C&H take issue with the conviction that random controlled trials  (RCT) -- the gold standard of causal inference and experiment in clinical medicine -- provide a basis for expecting that a given policy intervention will have similar effects in the future. Their book can be read as a critique of an excessively statistical understanding of social causality, without realistic analysis of the underlying mechanisms and processes.

RCT evidence shows only that the policy worked on the circumstances tested in the study. Instead, they argue that we need to offer evidence about two additional considerations: whether the "causal principle" associated with P will remain the same in new circumstances; and whether the associated conditions necessary for the operation of this principle will be present in the new circumstances.

Cartwright doesn't put her case in these terms, but I would say that the heart of her intuition is that social outcomes are different from medical outcomes because of their inherent causal heterogeneity.
social_theory  causation  RCT  methodology 
june 2013 by dunnettreader

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