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Chapter 8: Proportionality

Woodward, James (2021) Chapter 8: Proportionality. [Preprint]

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Abstract

This is a chapter from my forthcoming book, Causation with a Human Face: Normative Theory and Descriptive Psychology (OUP). As its title suggests, the book explores the interrelations between theories of how we ought to reason causally and descriptive theories of human causal cognition. This chapter focuses on the notion of proportionality, in roughly the sense introduced by Stephen Yablo in a series of papers. I formulate a version of this requirement according to which satisfaction of it is a matter of degree. I argue that satisfaction of the requirement is not a necessary condition for the truth of causal claims but that claims satisfying this requirement to a greater degree will sometimes be more informative than claims satisfying the requirement to a lesser degree. This is a defeasible reason for preferring causal claims that better satisfy this requirement. Some empirical evidence that ordinary subjects are guided in their judgments by proportionality-based considerations is discussed.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Woodward, James
Keywords: Causation, Proportionality, causal cognition
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Psychology > Judgment and Decision Making
Depositing User: Jim Woodward
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2021 03:18
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2021 03:18
Item ID: 18615
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Psychology > Judgment and Decision Making
Date: 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18615

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