PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Constraints as Causes

Noting ecologists' use of constraints to explain relationships, this paper’s main goal is to analyze how constraints can operate as causes, and especially how they participate in explanation not only of what is not the case but also of what is. It (1) considers what other kinds of causes constraints must interact with in order to produce explanatory theory; (2) argues that constraints are not causes on the standard accounts of causal knowledge; (3) defends the causal status of constraints against two objections; (4) argues that constraints can help explain relationships described by ecologists as occurring between populations, like interdependence.

Author Information:

Christopher Eliot    
Hofstra University


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