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Causal selection and the pathway concept

Ross, Lauren N. (2017) Causal selection and the pathway concept. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Causal selection has to do with a distinction between mere background conditions and the "true" cause or causes of some outcome of interest. Most philosophical work on this topic examines the selection of single causal factors and aims to clarify what grounds, if any, justify this selection. Such analyses overlook the fact that in scientific (and often ordinary life) contexts multiple factors are often selected as the important causes of some outcome. This analysis examines one such multicausal case where factors in causal pathways are selected in biological explanations. This work provides a novel analysis of the pathway concept, its role in causal selection, and the rationale behind this selection. It is argued that this rationale is guided by principled considerations, which have been overlooked in the extant literature.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Ross, Lauren N.rossl@uci.edu
Keywords: causation, explanation, philosophy of biology, causal selection, pragmatics
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
Depositing User: Dr. Lauren N. Ross
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2018 16:46
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2018 22:06
Item ID: 14361
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
Date: 21 July 2017
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14361

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