Going Against the Grain of Proportionality

In Chapter 1 of Causation with a Human Face, James Woodward articulates the metaphilosophical outlook on causation that gives his book its title. He tells us that his aim is to articulate a normative theory about how human beings ought to engage in causal reasoning. However, he believes that when …

Proportionality and Causal Dependence

James Woodward’s Causation with a Human Face defends three methodological proposals: (I) The empirical study of causal reasoning can fruitfully inform the philosophical analysis of causation, and vice versa. (II) Philosophers should attend to distinctions among different kinds of causal relationship, and not just the distinction between causal and non-causal relationships. (III) …

Humans’ Invariance Assumption: Should Statistics and AI Adopt It?

“What must nature, including man, be like in order that science be possible at all? … What must the world be like in order that man may know it?”, the philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn (1962/2012, p. 172) asks in the final paragraph of his book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.   …

Woodward on Invariance across Background Conditions

One of Woodward’s most important contributions to the study of causation is his introduction of the notion of invariance across background conditions. Woodward’s ideas on this topic have had a major influence on experimental research in causal cognition (including on my own work), and I thought it might be helpful to do …

Invariance and Causation by Absence

I am very pleased to contribute to this symposium on Causation with a Human Face (CHF). My commentary concerns chapter 6 of CHF, which uses the notion of invariance to shed light on various puzzle cases about causation. (See Jim’s post “Invariance and Distinctions Within Causation” for a summary of …

Empirical Results concerning Causal Reasoning and Their Philosophical Significance

As explained in the previous post, one very rich area of inquiry concerns the extent to which normative theories of causal reasoning, from both philosophy and elsewhere, successfully characterize how, as an empirical matter,  various sorts  of subjects (adults, children, non-human animals) reason. This has been explored by psychologists and other researchers …

Introduction to Causation With A Human Face

How should philosophers (and others) approach the topic of causation and causal reasoning? Causation with a Human Face (CHF) proposes an approach that brings together results from a number of different disciplines, both descriptive ( e.g., the empirical psychology of causal cognition) and normative (statistics, econometrics, machine learning,  philosophy).  The guiding idea is that   causal …

Now Featured

We are grateful to be able to share out latest symposium this week on James Woodward‘s new book, Causation With A Human Face. We also have fantastic commentators: Josh Knobe, Patricia Cheng, Christopher Hitchcock, Thomas Blanchard, and David Kinney, and Tania Lombrozo. You can read all of the posts here …

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