Download e-book for iPad: A Theory of Causation in the Social and Biological Sciences by A. Reutlinger

By A. Reutlinger

ISBN-10: 1137281049

ISBN-13: 9781137281043

ISBN-10: 1349447994

ISBN-13: 9781349447992

This primary complete size remedy of interventionist theories of causation within the social sciences, the organic sciences and different higher-level sciences the offers unique counter arguments to contemporary traits within the debate and serves as worthy creation to the topic.

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Note, again, that Woodward (2003: 95) explicitly emphasizes that the illustration of a randomized controlled experiment is merely heuristic: it is supposed to show intuitively how interventions contribute to understanding the truth conditions of causal statements. He underlines that the methodological question of whether and how one can use randomized experiments to test causal claims has to be distinguished from his own search for truth conditions of causal claims. ’ in order to reconstruct and illustrate Woodward’s definition of an intervention variable.

For instance, suppose that the patients calm down in the laboratory environment because they forget their stressful jobs during the hours in the laboratory. Such stress relief might be another cause for curing tinnitus problems: an increase in stress relief causes a decrease in tinnitus problems. Thus, the situation is that the researchers cannot isolate the effect of Silencin in the sense that they cannot extinguish stress relief as another cause of recovery. However, they can try to minimize the influence (by not designing the laboratory in a too comfortable and cosy style), or they can, at least, attempt to hold these other cause of recovery fixed such that all the patients are in the same (more or less stress relieving) environment.

Woodward 2003: 94, emphasis added) In other words, a possible intervention on a variable X is something that changes the value of the effect X. Interventionists such as Woodward understand this change as being causal. The basic idea of an intervention consists in assuming an additional variable I that causes a local change of the value of X; that is, the additional cause I sets a variable X to a certain value. This additional cause I is called an ‘intervention’ or, more precisely, an ‘intervention on a variable’.

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A Theory of Causation in the Social and Biological Sciences by A. Reutlinger


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