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Speaker Series: Dmitri Gallow (Pittsburgh)

February 9 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

“Causation as Production and Dependence, or: A Model-Invariant Theory of Causation”

Abstract: Many contemporary theories of singular causation (alternatively: token causation, or actual causation) are formulated within the framework of structural equations modelling (or causal modeling).  These theories say whether a variable value C=c caused another variable value E=e only given a particular causal model.  And the majority of these theories are model-variant in the following sense: they will say that C=c caused E=e in one model; but, when we remove an inessential variable, they change their tune and say that C=c didn’t cause E=e.  In this talk, I develop a theory of causation which is capable of securing the intuitive verdicts in a wide range of cases from the literature and which is model-invariant in the following sense: if the theory says that C=c caused (didn’t cause) E=e in a causal model M, then it will continue to say that C=c caused (didn’t cause) E=e once we’ve removed an inessential variable from M.  According to this model-invariant theory, causation is a hybrid of production (understood as the local propagation of deviant, non-inertial variable values) and counterfactual dependence.


Dmitri Gallow (PhD, University of Michigan, 2014) is an assistant professor of philosophy.  His primary research interests lie in the philosophy of science, metaphysics, and epistemology.  He spends most of his time thinking about causation, chance, subjunctive conditionals, and the rational norms governing partial, or degreed, belief states.


February 9
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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John T. Roberts