For tomorrow, June 9, read LB, pp. 2733 chapter 2, section 5. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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For tomorrow, June 9, read LB, pp. 2733 chapter 2, section 5.


There is a lawful correlation between the moon's phases (the amount of the ... would not be transmitted, so the process of moonlight-to-tides is not causal. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: For tomorrow, June 9, read LB, pp. 2733 chapter 2, section 5.

  • For tomorrow, June 9, read LB, pp. 27-33 (chapter
    2, section 5).
  • Exam 1 is on Wednesday. Bring a blue book. A
    study guide is being passed around and will be
    posted on line.

The Tides Example
  • There is a lawful correlation between the moons
    phases (the amount of the illuminated side of the
    moon that we see) and the tides.
  • One can set up a moon-phase argument in the
    deductive moldthat seems to meet all of the
    requirements of the classical theory of
    scientific explanationbut which isnt a genuine
    scientific explanation of the tides.

Is the Classical Theory Too Broad?
  • The big question Does the correlation count as a
    law? If not, theres no objection to the
    classical theory, because the explanation doesnt
    contain a law statement.
  • But we need to know why the statement doesnt
    count as a law.

Classical View off the Hook?
  • Arent all scientific laws ultimately just
  • Why not say that the tides-moon correlation is a
    law and that the tides are explained by the
    phases of the moon?
  • What is the source of discomfort here?

A Compromise?
  • Maybe the defender of the classical theory should
    accept the tides explanations, so long as we can
    ultimately explain, in terms of fundamental laws
    of nature, why the correlation holds.
  • The idea behind this The only part of the
    complete explanation allowed to involve brute
    correlations is the statement of basic laws.
  • Explanation aims at unification under a small
    number of highly abstract laws.

The Causal-Statistical Theory of Scientific
  • To explain event e is to present both
  • --the factors statistically relevant to es
  • and
  • --the causal network underlying es occurrence

No Problem with Mr. Fox
  • Men who take birth control pills do not get
    pregnant at a lower rate than men who dont take
    them. Thus, taking BC pills is not statistically
    relevant to Foxs not becoming pregnant.
  • This alone (without any mention of a causal
    network) protects the Causal-Statistical View
    from the Fred-Fox objection.

What about Radioactive Decay?
  • The probability of an atoms decaying if it is
    U238 is higher than if it is a randomly chosen
    atom. So somethings being a U238 atom is
    statistically relevant to its decaying.
  • But what if the proportions of atoms in the
    universe were different? And besides, what is the
    underlying causal network?

Hume on Causation
  • David Hume (18th century Scottish philosopher)
    argued that there is no such thing as causation,
    as people normally conceive of it.
  • All of our concepts are constructed entirely from
  • All we can observe is a series of events, one
    following another.
  • We never see one events causing of another, in
    the standard sense people try to give to
    causation (according to which one event forces
    another to occur or produces another).
  • The standard concept of causation is confused.

The CS Theorys Solution
  • A genuine causal process
  • --a continuous spatial or temporal process
  • --that transmits a mark.
  • Consider the moving shadow from the quiz. The
    movement of the shadow is not itself a causal
    process, because a change made to one shadow
    (say, drawing quickly on it with chalk) leaves no
    mark on the next shadow in the series.

Tides Again
  • There is no causal network that connects the
    phases of the moon directly with the tides.
  • If one could alter the light from the moon (and
    change nothing else), doing so would have no
    effect on the tides. The mark on the light would
    not be transmitted, so the process of
    moonlight-to-tides is not causal.
  • So the CS view deems (properly) that the tides
    example isnt a case of good scientific

Is the CS View Too Narrow?
  • The example of U 238 and of the EPR experiment
    seem to show that there are some legitimate
    scientific explanations that the CS view will not
    recognize as such.
  • In these cases the requirement of statistical
    relevance is met, but the demand for a causal
    network is not.

  • Note that the CS-theorist cant get out of this
    by falling back on more fundamental laws there
    are none in these cases.
  • Maybe the CS-theorist should give up the idea
    that causal processes are continuous, and settle
    for mark transmission only.
  • Spatial contiguity might be typical of causal
    processes, but maybe its not necessary.