Causation and Laws in the Special Sciences. 
Metaphysical Foundations

September 21, 2012 - September 22, 2012
Department of Philosophy , Universitie of Cologne and Constance

Konstanz 78457


  • Gesellschaft für analytische Philosophie, Deutschland

All speakers:

Andreas Hüttemann
University of Cologne
Jenann Ismael
University of Arizona
Benedikt Kahmen
Aachen University of Technology
Sandra D. Mitchell
University of Pittsburgh
Gerhard Müller-Strahl
Westfälische Wilhelms Universität, Münster
Alyssa Ney
University of Rochester
Huw Price
Cambridge University
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf


Alexander Reutlinger
Universität Köln
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

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Workshop Abstract

In recent debates in metaphysics of science, a considerable amount of work has been dedicated to causation and (ceteris paribus) laws in the higher-level or special sciences including the life sciences and the social sciences. Assuming some kind of minimal physicalist attitude (such as, at least, non-reductive physicalism), a question arises for accounts of causation and laws in those sciences: how can one explain that there are causal and nomic facts on the higher-level in a world that is ultimately described by fundamental physics? To put it in even more tendentious words: how do these causal and nomic facts emerge from the physical world?

The goal of this workshop is to explore the metaphysics of causation and laws in the special sciences that is able to answer the above-mentioned challenges.

Program (For Abstracts please see our website)

Friday, 21st September 

09.15 - 09.30 Arrival

09.30 - 10.45 Benedikt Kahmen (University of Aachen)
Causal Explanations of Action

10.45 - 11.15 Coffee

11.15 - 12.30 Alyssa Ney (University of Rochester)
Fundamental and Derivative Causation

12.30 - 14.00 Lunch

14.00 - 15.15 Gerhard Müller-Strahl (University of Münster)
Explaining Organismic Phenomena in Scientifically Based Medicine

15.15 - 15.45 Coffee

15.45 - 17.00 Markus Schrenk (University of Cologne)
Better Best Systems and the Issue of cp-Laws in the Special Sciences

17.00 - 17.30 Coffee

17.30 - 18.45 Huw Price (University of Cambridge)
Retrocausality - what would it take?

Saturday, 22nd September

09.30 - 10.45 Andreas Hüttemann (University of Cologne)
Why Laws (or Dispositions) are More Basic than Causal Structure

10.45 - 11.15 Coffee

11.15 - 12.30 Jenann Ismael (University of Arizona)
Why Causal Structure is More Basic than Global Laws

12.30 - 14.00 Lunch

14.00 - 15.15 Sandra Mitchell (University of Pittsburgh)
Biological laws: contingency and stability

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August 26, 2012, 1:00pm CET

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