New Perspectives on Causation in the Life Sciences

Yesterday - Today
Department of Philosophy and Centre for Reasoning, University of Kent

Canterbury CT2 7NZ
United Kingdom

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Sponsor(s):

  • British Academy
  • Leverhulme Trust

Speakers:

University of Exeter
University of Bristol
Université Catholique de Louvain
University of California, Irvine
Indiana University, Bloomington
University of Pittsburgh

Organisers:

University of Kent

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Causation is arguably one of the most controversial and persistent topics in the philosophy of the life sciences. Some (e.g. Reutlinger 2013; Anjum and Mumford 2018) have tried to develop monistic theories of causation, while others (e.g. Woodward 2010; Joffe 2013) maintain that causation in the life sciences is pluralist. It has been accepted by many (e.g. Mayr 1961; Dickins and Barton 2013) that there is a clear distinction between proximate causation and ultimate causation in evolutionary biology, whereas recently some (e.g. Francis 1990; Laland et al. 2011; Haig 2013) are highly sceptical. The significance of the notion of causation in biology has also been debated (Darden 2013). The conference aims to examine the issues relate to causation in the life sciences. The questions to be address include but are not limited to:

What is the best approach to causation in the life sciences?

Which better captures the concept of causation in the life sciences: causal pluralism or causal monism?

Is the concept of causation in the life sciences special in any sense?

Is the concept of causation in the life sciences reducible to that in the physical sciences?

Is the concept of causation in the life sciences teleological?

Is the distinction between proximate causation and ultimate causation tenable?

*For more information, please click here.

**The conference is part of the BA/Leverhulme-funded project ‘The Metaphysical Foundations of Evidential Pluralism’ (2020-2022).

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June 12, 2022, 11:00pm BST

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University of Kent

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Ruhr-Universität Bochum

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