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The contextual character of causal evidence

Suárez, Mauricio (2014) The contextual character of causal evidence. Topoi, 33 (2). pp. 397-406. ISSN 0167-7411

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s11245-013-9173-z


I argue for the thesis that causal evidence is context-dependent. The same causal claim may be warranted by the same piece of evidence in one context but not another. I show this in particular for the type of causal evidence characteristic of the manipulability theory defended by Woodward (Making things happen: a theory of causal explanation. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2003). My thesis, however, generalises to other theories—and at the end of the paper I outline the generalization to counterfactual theories. The paradigmatic form of causal evidence in the manipulability theory is provided by tests of the functional invariance of the relation between putative cause and effect under interventions (on the putative cause). I show that such evidence exhibits at least two kinds of context-relativity: personal, or epistemic; and situational, or objective.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Divisions: CPNSS
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2016 15:43
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:13
Projects: FFI-2011-29834-C03-01
Funders: Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation

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