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Causation as a high-level affair

Friederich, Simon and Mukherjee, Sach (2021) Causation as a high-level affair. [Preprint]


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The causal exclusion argument supports the notion that causation should be thought of as a purely low-level affair. Here we argue instead in favour of high-level causation as a natural and meaningful notion that may even be more useful than causation at more fundamental physical levels. Our argument is framed in terms of a broadly interventionist conception of causation. Its essence is that causal relations at an appropriately high level can in a certain sense be less sensitive than those at a fundamental, microscopic level. This means that in settings where causal relations at the (micro-) physical level are not considered in the context of some suitable macro-level interpretation, statements concerning the low-level relations may be highly sensitive with respect to changes in background conditions. Using an example of accelerator experiments in particle physics, we consider what it means to characterize extremely sensitive low-level events as causal.

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Item Type: Preprint
Friederich, Simons.m.friederich@rug.nl0000-0003-4372-5995
Additional Information: To appear in Top-Down Causation and Emergence, eds. J. Voosholz and M. Gabriel (Springer)
Keywords: causation background conditions low-level vs. high-level disciplines
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Depositing User: Dr. Simon Friederich
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2021 03:55
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2021 03:55
Item ID: 19232
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/978-3-030-71899-2
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Date: February 2021

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