Agency and Interventionist Theories

James F. Woodward

in The Oxford Handbook of Causation

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199279739
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191577246 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Agency and Interventionist Theories

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Agency and interventionist theories of causation take as their point of departure a common-sense idea about the connection between causation and manipulation: causal relationships are relationships that are potentially exploitable for purposes of manipulation and control. Very roughly, if C causes E then if C were to be manipulated in the right way, there would be an associated change in E. Conversely, if there would be a change in E, were the right sort of manipulation of C to occur, then C causes E. Accounts of causation in this vein have been defended by Collingwood, Gasking, and others. Similar ideas are defended by many social scientists and by some statisticians and theorists of experimental design.

Keywords: interventionist theories; agency theories; theories of causation; causation and manipulation; causal relationships; manipulation and control

Article.  13486 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Science

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