Forthcoming and Preprints
Some manuscripts available upon request.
F1. "Causal Cognition: Physical Connections, Proportionality, and the Role of Normative Theory." To appear in a volume edited by W. Gonzalez, tentative title Philosophy of Psychology: The Conception of James Woodward.
F2. "Normative Theory and Descriptive Psychology in Understanding Causal Reasoning: The Role of Interventions and Invariance." To appear in a volume edited by W. Gonzalez, tentative title Philosophy of Psychology: The Conception of James Woodward.
F3. "Methodology, Ontology, and Interventionism." Forthcoming in Synthese.
F4. "Interventionism and Causal Exclusion." Forthcoming in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
F5. "From Handles to Interventions: Commentary on R.G. Collingwood, 'The So-Called Idea of Causation.'" Forthcoming in The International Journal of Epidemiology.
F6. "Scientific Explanation." Forthcoming in Sklar, ed. Physical Theory: Method and Interpretation. Oxford University Press.
F7. "A Functional Account of Causation." (2012 Philosophy of Science Association Presidential Address). Forthcoming in Philosophy of Science.
F8. "Explanation in Neurobiology: An Interventionist Perspective." Forthcoming in Kaplan, ed., Integrating Psychology and Neuroscience: Prospects and Problems.
F9. "Empirical Investigations of Human Causal Judgment." Forthcoming in Lombrozo, Knobe, and Nichols, eds., Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
F10. "Mechanisms and Causation in Biology." Forthcoming in a Minnesota Studies in Philosophy of Science volume on Causation and Biology, ed. Waters and Woodward.
F11. "Emotion versus Cognition in Moral Decision-Making: A Dubious Dichotomy." Forthcoming in a volume on the moral brain, ed. Mathew Liao.
F12. "Interventionism and the Missing Metaphysics: A Dialogue." Forthcoming in Slater and Yudell, eds., Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science. Oxford University Press.
F13. "Intervening in the Exclusion Argument." Forthcoming in Beebee, Hitchcock and Price, eds., Making a Difference. Oxford University Press.
Articles and Reviews
2014. "Simplicity in the Best Systems Account of Laws of Nature." British Journal for Philosophy of Science 65: 91–123.
This article discusses the role of simplicity and the notion of a best balance of simplicity
and strength within the best systems account (BSA) of laws of nature. The article explores
whether there is anything in scientific practice that corresponds to the notion of simplicity
or to the trade-off between simplicity and strength to which the BSA appeals. Various
theoretical rationales for simplicity preferences and their bearing on the identification of
laws are also explored. It is concluded that there are a number of issues about the role of
simplicity within the BSA and its relation to strength that need to be addressed before the
BSA can be regarded as an adequate account of laws.
2013a. "Mechanistic Explanation: Its Scope and Limits." Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume lxxxvii: 39–65.
This paper explores the question of whether all or most explanations in biology are, or ideally should be, ‘mechanistic’. I begin by providing an account of mechanistic explanation, making use of the interventionist ideas about causation I have developed elsewhere. This account emphasizes the way in which mechanistic explanations, at least in the biological sciences, integrate difference-making and spatio-temporal information, and exhibit what I call fine-tunedness of organization. I also emphasize the role played by modularity conditions in mechanistic explanation. I will then argue, in agreement with John Dupré, that, given this account, it is plausible that many biological systems require explanations that are relatively nonmechanical or depart from expectations one associates with the behaviour of machines.
2013b. "Laws, Causes, and Invariance." In Mumford and Tugby, eds., Metaphysics and Science. Oxford University Press: 48–72.
2012a. "Causation, Interactions Between Philosophical Theories and Psychological Research." Philosophy of Science 79: 961–972.
This article explores some ways in which philosophical theories of causation and empirical investigations into causal learning and judgment can mutually inform one another.
2012b. "Cooperation and Reciprocity: Empirical Evidence and Normative Implications." In Kincaid, ed. Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Social Science. Oxford University Press: 581–606.
2011a. "Mechanisms Revisited." Synthese 83: 409–427.
This paper defends an interventionist treatment of mechanisms and contrasts this with Waskan (forthcoming). Interventionism embodies a differencemaking conception of causation. I contrast such conceptions with geometrical/mechanical or “actualist” conceptions, associating Waskan’s proposals with the latter. It is argued that geometrical/mechanical conceptions of causation cannot replace difference-making conceptions in characterizing the behavior of mechanisms, but that some of the intuitions behind the geometrical/mechanical approach can be captured by thinking in terms of spatio-temporally organized difference-making information.
2011b. "Causes, Conditions, and the Pragmatics of Causal Explanation." In Morgan, ed., Philosophy of Science Matters: The Philosophy of Peter Achinstein. Oxford University Press: 247–257.
2011c. "Counterfactuals All the Way Down?" Metascience 20: 27–33.
Symposium on Marc Lange's Laws and Lawmakers: Science, Metaphysics, and the Laws of Nature
2011d. "Data and Phenomena: A Restatement and a Defense." Synthese 182: 165–179.
This paper provides a restatement and defense of the data/phenomena distinction introduced by Jim Bogen and me several decades ago (e.g., Bogen and Woodward, The Philosophical Review, 303–352, 1988). Additional motivation for the distinction is introduced, ideas surrounding the distinction are clarified, and an attempt is made to respond to several criticisms.
2011e. "Causal Perception and Causal Understanding." In Roessler, Lerman, and Eilan, eds., Causation, Perception, and Objectivity: Issues in Philosophy and Psychology. Oxford University Press: 229–263.
2011f. "Psychological Studies of Causal and Counterfactual Reasoning." In Hoerl, McCormack, and Beck, eds., Understanding Counterfactuals, Understanding Causation. Oxford University Press: 16–53.
2011g. "A Philosopher Looks at Tool Use and Causal Understanding." In McCormack, Hoerl, and Butterfill, eds., Tool Use and Causal Cognition. Oxford University Press: 18–50.
This paper explores some general questions about the sorts of abilities that are involved in tool use and “causal cognition”, both in humans and in non-human primates. An attempt is made to relate the empirical literature on these topics to various philosophical theories of causation.
2010a. "The Structure and Dynamics of Scientific Theories: A Hierarchical Bayesian Perspective." (with L. Henderson et al.) Philosophy of Science 77: 172–200.
Hierarchical Bayesian models (HBMs) provide an account of Bayesian inference in a hierarchically structured hypothesis space. Scientific theories are plausibly regarded as organized into hierarchies in many cases, with higher levels sometimes called ‘paradigms’ and lower levels encoding more specific or concrete hypotheses. Therefore, HBMs provide a useful model for scientific theory change, showing how higher‐level theory change may be driven by the impact of evidence on lower levels. HBMs capture features described in the Kuhnian tradition, particularly the idea that higher‐level theories guide learning at lower levels. In addition, they help resolve certain issues for Bayesians, such as scientific preference for simplicity and the problem of new theories.
2010b. "Causation in Biology: Stability, Specificity, and the Choice of Levels of Explanation." Biology and Philosophy 25: 287–318.
This paper attempts to elucidate three characteristics of causal relationships that are important in biological contexts. Stability has to do with whether a causal relationship continues to hold under changes in background conditions. Proportionality has to do with whether changes in the state of the cause ‘‘line up’’ in the right way with changes in the state of the effect and with whether the cause and effect are characterized in a way that contains irrelevant detail. Specificity is connected both to David Lewis' notion of ‘‘influence’’ and also with the extent to which a causal relation approximates to the ideal of one cause–one effect. Interrelations among these notions and their possible biological significance are also discussed.
2010c. "Just Do It? Investigating the Gap between Prediction and Action in Toddlers' Causal Inferences." (with L. Bonawitz et al.) Cognition 115: 104–117.
Adults’ causal representations integrate information about predictive relations and the possibility of effective intervention; if one event reliably predicts another, adults can represent the possibility that acting to bring about the first event might generate the second. Here we show that although toddlers (mean age: 24 months) readily learn predictive relationships between physically connected events, they do not spontaneously initiate one event to try to generate the second (although older children, mean age: 47 months, do; Experiments 1 and 2). Toddlers succeed only when the events are initiated by a dispositional agent (Experiment 3), when the events involve direct contact between objects (Experiment 4), or when the events are described using causal language (Experiment 5). This suggests that causal language may help children extend their initial causal representations beyond agent-initiated and direct contact events.
2010d. "Data, Phenomena, Signal, and Noise." Philosophy of Science 77 (5): 792–803.
This essay attempts to provide additional motivation for the data/phenomena framework advocated in Bogen and Woodward, "Saving the Phenomena" (1988a).
2009a. "Why Do People Cooperate as Much as They Do." In Mantzavinos, ed., Philosophy of the Social Sciences: Philosophical Theory and Scientific Practice. Oxford University Press: 219–265.
2009b. "Experimental Investigations of Social Preferences." In Ross and Kincaid, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics. Oxford University Press: 189–222.
2009c. "Agency and Interventionist Theories of Causation." In Beebee, Hitchcock, and Menzies, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Causation. Oxford University Press: 234–264.
2008a. "What are Moral Intuitions and Why Should We Care About Them? A Neurobiological Perspective." (with J. Allman) Philosophical Issues 18: 164–185.
2008b. "Social Preferences in Experimental Economics." Philosophy of Science 75: 646–657, supplement. Proceedings of the 2006 Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, vol. 2.
This article explores some issues having to do with the use of experimental results from one-shot games to reach conclusions about the existence of social preferences that are taken to figure in the explanation of cooperation in repeated interactions in real life.
2008c. "Response to Strevens." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77: 193–212.
2008d. "Cause and Explanation in Psychiatry: An Interventionist Perspective." In Kendler and Parnas, eds., Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry: Explanation, Phenomenology and Nosology. Johns Hopkins University Press: 132–184.
2008e. "Comments on John Campbell's Causation in Psychiatry." In Kendler and Parnas, eds., Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry: Explanation, Phenomenology and Nosology. Johns Hopkins University Press: 216–235.
2008f. "Mental Causation and Neural Mechanisms." In Hohwy and Kallestrup, eds., Being Reduced: New Essays on Reduction, Explanation, and Causation. Oxford University Press: 218–262.
2008g. "Explanation." In Psillos and Curd, eds., The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Science. Routledge: 171–181.
2008h. "Invariance, Modularity, and All That." In Hartmann, Hoefer, and Bovens, eds., Nancy Cartwright’s Philosophy of Science. Routledge: 198–237.
2007a. "Moral Intuition: Its Neural Substrates and Normative Significance.” (with J. Allman) Journal of Physiology–Paris 101: 179–202.
Philosophers use the phrase "moral intuition" to describe the appearance in consciousness of moral judgments or assessments without any awareness of having gone through a conscious reasoning process that produces this assessment. This paper investigates the neural substrates of moral intuition. We propose that moral intuitions are part of a larger set of social intuitions that guide us through complex, highly uncertain and rapidly changing social interactions. Such intuitions are shaped by learning. The neural substrates for moral intuition include fronto-insular, cingulate, and orbito-frontal cortices and associated subcortical structure such as the septum, basil ganglia and amygdala. Understanding the role of these structures undercuts many philosophical doctrines concerning the status of moral intuitions, but vindicates the claim that they can sometimes play a legitimate role in moral decision-making.
2007b. "Interventionist Theories of Causation in Psychological Perspective." In Gopnik and Schulz, eds., Causal Learning: Psychology, Philosophy and Computation. Oxford University Press: 19–36.
2007c. "Causation with a Human Face." In Price and Corry, eds., Causation and the Constitution of Reality. Oxford University Press: 66–105.
2006a. "Some Varieties of Robustness." The Journal of Economic Methodology 13: 219–240.
Part of a symposium on John Aldrich, “When are Inferences Too Fragile to be Believed?”
2006b. "Sensitive and Insensitive Causation." The Philosophical Review 115: 1–50.
2006c. "Causal Models in the Social Sciences." In Turner and Risjord, eds., Handbook of the Philosophy of Science, Volume 8 (Philosophy of Anthropology and Sociology). Elsevier: 157–210.
2005a. "Prospects For a Manipulability Account of Causation." In Hajek, Valdes-Villanueva, and Westerstahl, eds., Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science: Proceedings of the Twientieth International Congress. King's College Publications: 333–348.
2005b. "Evading the IRS." (with J. Bogen) In Jones and Cartwright, eds., Correcting the Model: Idealization and Abstraction in Science. Rodopi Publishers: 233–267.
2004a. "Manipulation and the Casual Markov Condition." (with D. Hausman) Philosophy of Science 71: 846–856.
2004b. "Counterfactuals and Causal Explanation." International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18: 41–72.
2004c. "Modularity and the Causal Markov Condition: A Restatement." (with D. Hausman) The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55: 147–161.
2004d. "Is the Mind a System of Modules Shaped by Natural Selection?" (with F. Cowie) In Hitchcock, ed., Great Debates in Philosophy: Philosophy of Science. Blackwell: 312–334.
2003a. Review of Judea Pearl, Causality. Economics and Philosophy 19, pp. 321–340.
2003b (updated 2008). "Scientific Explanation." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
2003c. "Explanatory Generalizations, Part I: A Counterfactual Account." (with C. Hitchcock) Nous 37: 1–24.
2003d. "Explanatory Generalizations, Part II: Plumbing Explanatory Depth." (with C. Hitchcock) Nous 37: 181–99.
2003e. "Experimentation, Causal Inference, and Instrumental Realism." In H. Radder, ed., The Philosophy of Scientific Experimentation. University of Pittsburgh Press: 87–118.
2003f. "There is No Such Thing as a Ceteris Paribus Law." Erkenntnis 57: 303–328, special issue on ceteris paribus laws. Earman, Glymour, and Mitchell, eds.
2002a. "What is a Mechanism: A Counterfactual Account." Philosophy of Science 69, supplement. Proceedings of the 2000 Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. Part II: Symposia Papers: S366–S377.
2001a. "Explanation." In P. Machamer and M. Silberstein, eds., Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Science. Blackwell: 37–54.
2001b. "Probabilistic Causality, Direct Causes, and Counterfactual Dependence." In M. Galavotti, P. Suppes, and D. Costantini, eds., Stochastic Causality. CSLI Publications: 39–63.
2001c (updated 2008). "Causation and Manipulability." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
2001d. "Law and Explanation in Biology: Invariance is the Kind of Stability that Matters." Philosophy of Science 68: 1–20.
2000a. "Explanation and Invariance in the Special Sciences." The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51(2): 197–254.
This paper describes an alternative to the common view that explanation in the special sciences involves subsumption under laws. According to this alternative, whether or not a generalization can be used to explain has to do with whether it is invariant rather than with whether it is lawful. A generalization is invariant if it is stable or robust in the sense that it would continue to hold under a relevant if it is stable or robust in the sense that it would continue to hold under a relevant class of changes. Unlike lawfulness, invariance comes in degrees and has other features that are well suited to capture the characteristics of explanatory generalizations in the special sciences. For example, a generalization can be invariant even if it has exceptions or holds only over a limited spatio-temporal interval. The notion of invariance can be used to resolve a number of dilemmas that arise in standard treatments of explanatory generalizations in the special sciences.
2000b."Data, Phenomena, and Reliability." Philosophy of Science 67, supplement. Proceedings of the 1998 Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. Part II: Symposia Papers: S163–S179.
1999a. "Causal Interpretation in Systems of Equations." Synthese 121: 199–257.
1999b. "Independence, Invariance and the Causal Markov Condition." (with D. Hausman) The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50: 521–583.
1999c. "Inside Science." (with D. Goodstein). The American Scholar, Autumn 1999: 83–90.
1998a. "Statistics." The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Routledge.
1998b. "Causal Independence and Faithfulness." Multivariate Behavioral Research 33: 129–148.
1997a. "Causal Modeling, Probabilities and Invariance." In McKim and Turner, eds., Causality in Crisis? Statistical Methods and the Search for Causal Knowledge in the Social Sciences. University of Notre Dame Press: 265–317.
1997b. "Explanation, Invariance and Intervention." Philosophy of Science 64, supplement. Proceedings of the 1996 Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. Part II: Symposia Papers: S26–S41.
1997c. "Explanation and Invariance." Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 71: 108–109. Colloquium Abstract.
1996. "Conduct, Misconduct and the Structure of Science." (with D. Goodstein) American Scientist 84: 479–490. Reprinted in Sherman and Alcock, eds., Exploring Animal Behavior. Sinauer Associates, Inc.
1995. "Causality and Explanation in Econometrics." In Little, eds., On the Reliability of Economic Models: Essays in the Philosophy of Economics. Kluwer: 9–61.
1994. "Essay Review of Paul Humphreys, 'The Chances of Explanation.' " The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 45: 353–374.
1993. "Capacities and Invariance." In Earman, Janis, Massey, and Rescher, Philosophical Problems of the Internal and External Worlds: Essays Concerning the Philosophy of Adolph Grünbaum. University of Pittsburgh Press: 283–328.
1992a. "Observations, Theories and the Evolution of the Human Spirit." (with J. Bogen) Philosophy of Science 59: 590–611.
1992b. "Realism About Laws." Erkenntnis 36: 181–218. Reprinted in Tooley, ed. Analytical Metaphysics.
1992c. "Liberalism and Migration." In Barry and Goodin, eds., Free Movement: Ethical Issues in the Transnational Migration of People and Money. Routledge.
1990a. "Supervenience and Singular Causal Claims." In Knowles, ed., Explanation and Its Limits. (Royal Institute of Philosophy Conference). Cambridge University Press: 211–246.
1990b. "Laws and Causes." The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 41: 553–573.
Review Article of Michael Tooley's Causation: A Realist Approach and J. Fetzer, ed., Probability and Causality
1989a. "The Causal/Mechanical Model of Explanation." In Kitcher and Salmon, eds., Scientific Explanation. Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13: 357–383.
1989b. "Data and Phenomena." Synthese 79: 393–472.
1988a. "Saving the Phenomena." (with J. Bogen) The Philosophical Review 97: 303–352.
1988b."Understanding Regression." PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988: Volume 1, Contributed Papers: 255–269.
1987a. "Reply to Parfit." Ethics 97: 800–816.
1987b. "On an Information-Theoretic Model of Explanation." Philosophy of Science 54: 21–44.
1986a. "Explanation in Social Theory: Comments on Alan Nelson." Ethics 96: 187–195.
1986b. "The Non-Identity Problem." Ethics 96: 804–831.
1986c. "Are Singular Causal Explanations Implicit Covering-Law Explanations?" The Canadian Journal of Philosophy 16: 253–279.
1985a. "Critical Review: Horwich on the Ravens, Projectability and Induction." Philosophical Studies 48: 409–428.
1985b. "Folk Psychology is Here to Stay." (with T. Horgan) The Philosophical Review 94: 197–226. Reprinted in (1) Lycan, ed., Mind and Cognition: A Reader. Basil Blackwell Limited, 1990. (2) Greenwood, ed., The Future of Folk Psychology: Intentionality and Cognitive Science. Cambridge University Press, 1991. (3) Christensen and Turner, Folk Psychology. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992.
1984a. "A Theory of Singular Causal Explanation." Erkenntnis 21: 231–262. Reprinted in Ruben, ed., Explanation. Oxford Readings in Philosophy: Oxford University Press, 1993.
1984b. "Explanatory Asymmetries." Philosophy of Science 51: 421–442.
1983. "Glymour on Theory Confirmation." Philosophical Studies 46: 147–152.
1982. "Paternalism and Justification." Canadian Journal of Philosophy, supplemental volume 8, New Essays in Ethics and Public Policy: 67–89. Reprinted in Cragg, ed., Contemporary Moral Issues. McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited.
1981. "Why the Numbers Count." The Southern Journal of Philosophy 19: 531–540.
1980. "Developmental Explanation." Synthese 70: 443–466.
1979a. "On Sklar's Space, Time and Space-Time." (with P. Wolfson) Philosophy of Science 46: 287–294.
1979b. "Scientific Explanation." The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 30: 41–67.