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Making Things HappenA Theory of Causal Explanation$
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James Woodward

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195155273

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195155270.001.0001

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Introduction and Preview

Introduction and Preview

Chapter:
(p.3) 1 Introduction and Preview
Source:
Making Things Happen
Author(s):

James Woodward (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195155270.003.0001

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

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