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.
How should we theorize about the social world? How can we integrate theories, models and approaches from seemingly incompatible disciplines? Does theory affect social reality? This state-of-the-art collection addresses contemporary methodological questions and interdisciplinary developments in the philosophy of social science. Facilitating a mutually enriching dialogue, chapters by leading social scientists are followed by critical evaluations from philosophers of social science. This exchange showcases recent major theoretical and methodological breakthroughs and challenges in the social sciences, as well as fruitful ways in which the analytic tools developed in philosophy of science can be applied to understand these advancements. The volume covers a diverse range of principles, methods, innovations and applications, including scientific and methodological pluralism, performativity of theories, causal inferences and applications of social science to policy and business. Taking a practice-orientated and interactive approach, it offers a new philosophy of social science grounded in and relevant to the emerging social science practice.
Information and communication technology occupies a central place in the modern world, with society becoming increasingly dependent on it every day. It is therefore unsurprising that it has become a growing subject area in contemporary philosophy, which relies heavily on informational concepts. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Information is an outstanding reference source to the key topics and debates in this exciting subject and is the first collection of its kind. Comprising over thirty chapters by a team of international contributors the Handbook is divided into four parts: basic ideas quantitative and formal aspects natural and physical aspects human and semantic aspects. Within these sections central issues are examined, including probability, the logic of information, informational metaphysics, the philosophy of data and evidence, and the epistemic value of information. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Information is essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy, computer science and communication studies.
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.
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: 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.
Author: Alvin I. Goldman
Publisher: MIT Press
Release Date: 1992
These essays by a major epistemologist reconfigure philosophical projects across a wide spectrum, from mind to metaphysics, from epistemology to social power. Several of Goldman's classic essays are included along with many newer writings. Together these trace and continue the development of the author's unique blend of naturalism and reliabilism. Part I defends the simulation approach to mentalistic ascription and explores the psychological mechanisms of ontological individuation. Part II shows why epistemology needs help from cognitive science - not only to evaluate cognitive agents but also to illuminate the practices of epistemic evaluators. Parts III and IV explain how philosophical projects can be reshaped through interchange with social science. An epistemological study of scientific activity exploits the economic paradigm, and philosophical tools are applied to analyze power in society. Alvin I. Goldman is Professor of Philosophy and Research Scientist in Cognitive Science at the University of Arizona. During 1991-92 he served as President of the American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division. Contents: Mind and Metaphysics. Interpretation Psychologized. Metaphysics, Mind, and Mental Science. Cognition and Modal Metaphysics. Individual Epistemology. A Causal Theory of Knowing. Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge. What Is justified Belief? Strong and Weak justification. Psychology and Philosophical Analysis. Epistemic Folkways and Scientific Epistemology. Social Epistemology. Foundations of Social Epistemics. Epistemic Paternalism: Communication and Control in Law and Society. An Economic Model of Scientific Activity and Truth Acquisition (with Moshe Shaked). Social Power. Toward a Theory of Social Power. On the Measurement of Power.
Author: S. Turner
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Release Date: 2013-03-09
Stephen Turner has explored the ongms of social science in this pioneering study of two nineteenth century themes: the search for laws of human social behavior, and the accumulation and analysis of the facts of such behavior through statistical inquiry. The disputes were vigorously argued; they were over questions of method, criteria of explanation, interpretations of probability, understandings of causation as such and of historical causation in particular, and time and again over the ways of using a natural science model. From his careful elucidation of John Stuart Mill's proposals for the methodology of the social sciences on to his original analysis of the methodological claims and practices of Emile Durkheim and Max Weber, Turner has beautifully traced the conflict between statistical sociology and a science offactual description on the one side, and causal laws and a science of nomological explanation on the other. We see the works of Comte and Quetelet, the critical observations of Herschel, Buckle, Venn and Whewell, and the tough scepticism of Pearson, all of these as essential to the works of the classical founders of sociology. With Durkheim's essay on Suicide and Weber's monograph on The Protestant Ethic, Turner provides both philosophical analysis to demonstrate the continuing puzzles over cause and probability and also a perceptive and wry account of just how the puzzles of our late twentieth century are of a piece with theirs. The terms are still familiar: reasons vs.