Head hits cause brain damage - but not always. Should we ban sport to protect athletes? Exposure to electromagnetic fields is strongly associated with cancer development - does that mean exposure causes cancer? Should we encourage old fashioned communication instead of mobile phones to reduce cancer rates? According to popular wisdom, the Mediterranean diet keeps you healthy. Is this belief scientifically sound? Should public health bodies encourage consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables? Severe financial constraints on research and public policy, media pressure, and public anxiety make such questions of immense current concern not just to philosophers but to scientists, governments, public bodies, and the general public. In the last decade there has been an explosion of theorizing about causality in philosophy, and also in the sciences. This literature is both fascinating and important, but it is involved and highly technical. This makes it inaccessible to many who would like to use it, philosophers and scientists alike. This book is an introduction to philosophy of causality - one that is highly accessible: to scientists unacquainted with philosophy, to philosophers unacquainted with science, and to anyone else lost in the labyrinth of philosophical theories of causality. It presents key philosophical accounts, concepts and methods, using examples from the sciences to show how to apply philosophical debates to scientific problems.
Author: Rani Lill Anjum
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Release Date: 2018-10-18
Causation is the main foundation upon which the possibility of science rests. Without causation, there would be no scientific understanding, explanation, prediction, nor application in new technologies. How we discover causal connections is no easy matter, however. Causation often lies hiddenfrom view and it is vital that we adopt the right methods for uncovering it. The choice of methods will inevitably reflect what one takes causation to be, making an accurate account of causation an even more pressing matter. This enquiry informs the correct norms for an empirical study of the world. In Causation in Science and the Methods of Scientific Discovery, Rani Lill Anjum and Stephen Mumford propose nine new norms of scientific discovery. A number of existing methodological and philosophical orthodoxies are challenged as they argue that progress in science is being held back by an overlysimplistic philosophy of causation.
Author: R. Tuomela
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Release Date: 2012-12-06
It is somewhat surprising to find out how little serious theorizing there is in philosophy (and in social psychology as well as sociology) on the nature of social actions or joint act. hons in the sense of actions performed together by several agents. Actions performed by single agents have been extensively discussed both in philosophy and in psycho~ogy. There is, ac cordingly, a booming field called action theory in philosophy but it has so far strongly concentrated on actions performed by single agents only. We of course should not forget game theory, a discipline that systematically studies the strategic interac tion between several rational agents. Yet this important theory, besides being restricted to strongly rational acting, fails to study properly several central problems related to the concep tual nature of social action. Thus, it does not adequately clarify and classify the various types of joint action (except perhaps from the point of view of the agents' utilities). This book presents a systematic theory of social action. Because of its reliance on so-called purposive causation and generation it is called the purposive-causal theory. This work also discusses several problems related to the topic of social action, for instance that of how to create from this perspective the most central concepts needed by social psychology and soci ology. While quite a lot of ground is covered in the book, many important questions have been left unanswered and many others unasked as well.
Author: Fred Chernoff
Release Date: 2012-12-06
Genre: Political Science
This new study challenges how we think about international relations, presenting an analysis of current trends and insights into new directions. It shows how the discipline of international relations was created with a purpose of helping policy-makers to build a more peaceful and just world. However, many of the current trends, post-positivism, constructivism, reflectivism, and post-modernism share a conception of international theory that is inherently incapable of offering significant guidance to policy-makers. The Power of International Theory critically examines these approaches and offers a novel conventional-causal alternative that allows the reforging of a link between IR theory and policy-making. While recognizing the criticisms of earlier forms of positivism and behaviouralism, the book defends holistic testing of empirical principles, methodological pluralism, criteria for choosing the best theory, a notion of 'causality,' and a limited form of prediction, all of which are needed to guide policy-makers. This is an essential book for all students and scholars of international relations.
This is a much-needed new introduction to a field that has been transformed in recent years by exciting new subjects, ideas, and methods. It is designed both for students with central interests in philosophy and those planning to concentrate on the social sciences, and it presupposes no particular background in either domain. From the wide range of topics at the forefront of debate in philosophy of social science, the editors have chosen those which are representative of the most important and interesting contemporary work. A team of distinguished experts explore key aspects of the field such as social ontology (what are the things that social science studies?), objectivity, formal methods, measurement, and causal inference. Also included are chapters focused on notable subjects of social science research, such as well-being and climate change. Philosophy of Social Science provides a clear, accessible, and up-to-date guide to this fascinating field.
Author: Theo A.F. Kuipers
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Release Date: 2001-10-31
The philosophy of science has lost its self-confidence, witness the lack of advanced textbooks in contrast to the abundance of elementary textbooks. Structures in Science is an advanced textbook that explicates, updates, accommodates, and integrates the best insights of logical-empiricism and its main critics. This `neo-classical approach' aims at providing heuristic patterns for research. The book introduces four ideal types of research programs (descriptive, explanatory, design, and explicative) and reanimates the distinction between observational laws and proper theories. It explicates various patterns of explanation by subsumption and specification as well as structures in reductive and other types of interlevel research. Its analysis of theory evaluation leads to new characterizations of confirmation, empirical progress, and pseudoscience. Partial analogies between progress in nomological research (i.e. observational, referential, and theoretical truth approximation, presented in detail in From Instrumentalism to Constructive Realism, 2000) and progress in explicative and design research emerge. Finally, special chapters are devoted to design research programs, computational philosophy of science, the structuralist approach to theories, and research ethics.