Download e-book for kindle: Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation (Oxford by James Woodward

By James Woodward

ISBN-10: 0195189531

ISBN-13: 9780195189537

Woodward's lengthy awaited ebook is an try and build a entire account of causation clarification that applies to a large choice of causal and explanatory claims in several parts of technological know-how and way of life. The booklet engages a few of the appropriate literature from different disciplines, as Woodward weaves jointly examples, counterexamples, criticisms, defenses, objections, and replies right into a convincing safeguard of the center of his concept, that's that we will be able to research causation by means of attract the concept of manipulation.

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Additional info for Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation (Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Science)

Sample text

Cf. Plotkin 1 9 9 7). g. , four years) show a much richer set of causally charged assumptions that play an important role in categorization, classification, and generalization. Contrary to what is some­ times suggested, there is little evidence that causal expectations or assumptions about the behavior of familiar physical objects vary greatly across different cultures or that non-Western cultures have a concept of causality that is fundamentally different from our own (cf. Sperber, Premack, and Premack 1 995).

Those who doubt that a complete account of causation will emerge from the connection between causation and manipulation may think of what follows as an investigation of the notion of a relationship that is exploitable for purposes of manipulation -a notion that is interesting and important in its own right (even if it does not fully coincide with "our" notion of causation) and that deserves more philosophical attention than it has hitherto received. Finally, we may note that the considerations just described also suggest certain awkward questions for approaches that fail to take seriously the con­ nection between causation and manipulation.

Indeed, inferences from effect to cause are often more reliable than inferences from cause to effect: from the footprints on the beach, I can reliably infer that someone walked on it, but from knowledge that someone has walked on the beach, I can reliably infer little about the existence of footprints. Examples of this sort are often advanced as counterexamples to regularity theories, but we can also take them to strongly suggest that the practical payoff 32 Making Things Happen associated with causal knowledge is not just an improved general ability to predict.

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Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation (Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Science) by James Woodward

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