What are causal relations across medical and social sciences? Some arguments for an integrative manipulationist-mechanistic theory of causality
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Room 3401, (Lift 2 / Lifts 17-18), Academic Building


Evidential Pluralism is a stance concerned with the epistemology of causality. It emerges from a normative reading of the Russo-Williamson Thesis that establishing causality in medicine typically requires both mechanistic evidence and difference-making evidence. The proponents of EP pointed at two views on causality underlying their methodological position. On the one hand, Williamson argued for his epistemic theory of causality that identifies causal relations with causal beliefs of an ideal epistemic agent. On the other, Illari & Russo put forward a ‘causal mosaic’, a view pluralistic about what causal relations have in common (ontology of causality), concepts of causality, and causal inference methods. The view on causality adequate to economics has been thoroughly debated. While other theories have been indicated, pluralism about the concept of cause seems to be endorsed by economists in their research. Endorsing such pluralism leads to the view that different research methods deliver evidence for various types of relations that are deemed causal by alternative philosophical accounts of causality. Such a view starkly contrasts with EP (Shan & Williamson 2023).

To resolve this clash, I analyze the suggestion of Hall (2004) that causality is either dependence or production and proposals to unify the concept of causality by requiring from such relations both difference-making and mechanistic connection. I argue that these proposals face some difficulties and offer an improved account. In particular, I draw inspiration from a probabilistic formulation of Menzies and Price’s agency theory interpreted as a type-level theory and the New Mechanistic philosophy. I put forward an ontological theory of generic (type-level) causality, claiming that X causes Y only if (1) there is a mechanism linking type X events with type Y events and (2) one can manipulate (the probability of) Y by acting on X.



Mariusz Maziarz is a research fellow in philosophy at  Jagiellonian University, Poland. He received a PhD in Economics from the Wroclaw University of Economics and a PhD in Philosophy at Jagiellonian University. He is the author of Philosophy of Causality in Economics (Routledge, 2021). His articles appeared in, among others, Synthese, Journal of Economic Methodology, History and Philosophy of Life Sciences, and Journal for Evaluation in Clinical Practice.


Room 3401, (Lift 2 / Lifts 17-18), Academic Building
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Meeting ID: 925 9783 5225

Passcode: 178505


Speakers / Performers:
Prof. Mariusz Maziarz
Jagiellonian University