Chapter

Introduction and Preview

James Woodward

in Making Things Happen

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780195155273
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835089 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195155270.003.0001

Series: Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Science

 						Introduction and Preview

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This chapter considers what the goal of a theory of causation and explanation should be and some of the constraints--epistemic and otherwise--that such a theory should satisfy. Causal and explanatory claims are central to science and to ordinary life. The role of such claims in ordinary life suggests that they must have some practical point or pay-off. A manipulability theory takes this pay-off to have to do with our interest in manipultion and control. A satisfactory account of causation and explanation need not be reductionist but it should clarify the differences among different causal concepts and illuminate the epistemology of causal inference.

Keywords: manipulation; reductionism; epistemic constraints; manipulability theory

Chapter.  10888 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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