Maria Kronfeldner előadása

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Maria Kronfeldner (CEU):
Specificity and proximity in causal reasoning

című előadására.

Időpont: 2017. november 7., 16 óra
Helyszín: BTK Filozófiai Intézet, Tóth Kálmán u. 4., 7. emelet, B.7.16 (Trapéz terem)

Az előadás absztraktja:

This paper analyzes the epistemic role of specificity and proximity in how scientists deal with causal complexity. I will show that scientists, at least in the life sciences, often try to get rid of causal complexity by focusing on rather specific, ideally mono-causal relationships. I will then illustrate that specificity and proximity – understood as explanatory virtues, i.e., representation-dependent properties that a good explanation should exhibit – guide them too but that they can point in different directions. The resulting trade-off is often ignored, even when specificity and proximity are explicitly addressed in the philosophical literature. On the basis of this, I will defend two claims: first, that proximity and specificity are only instrumental: they are good only in so far they help in reaching the ‘gold standards’ of causal reasoning: stability, scope and parsimony; second, if in conflict, specificity regularly trumps proximity. The focus of the talk will be on examples from life sciences involving genes as causal factors.

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