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Running it up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes: A response to Woodward on causal and explanatory asymmetries

Elliott, Katrina and Lange, Marc (2022) Running it up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes: A response to Woodward on causal and explanatory asymmetries. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 37 (1). pp. 53-62. ISSN 0495-4548

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Abstract

Does smoke cause fire or does fire cause smoke? James Woodward’s “Flagpoles anyone? Causal and explanatory asymmetries” argues that various statistical independence relations not only help us to uncover the directions of causal and explanatory relations in our world, but also are the worldly basis of causal and explanatory directions. We raise questions about Woodward’s envisioned epistemology, but our primary focus is on his metaphysics. We argue that any alleged connection between statistical (in)dependence and causal/explanatory direction is contingent, at best. The directions of causal/explanatory relations in our world seem not to depend on the statistical (in)dependence relations in our world (conceived of either as frequency patterns or as relations among chances). Thus, we doubt that statistical (in)dependence relations are the worldly basis of causal and explanatory directions.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Elliott, Katrinakatrina.jeanine.elliott@gmail.com
Lange, Marcmlange@email.unc.edu
Additional Information: ISSN: 0495-4548 (print)
Keywords: explanation, causation, asymmetry, counterfactual, invariance, interventionism, James Woodward
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email theoria@ehu.es
Date Deposited: 15 May 2022 03:51
Last Modified: 15 May 2022 03:51
Item ID: 20607
Journal or Publication Title: THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science
Publisher: Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
Official URL: https://ojs.ehu.eus/index.php/THEORIA/article/view...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1387/theoria.22351
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
Date: 2022
Page Range: pp. 53-62
Volume: 37
Number: 1
ISSN: 0495-4548
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20607

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