viu_logoThe seminar "The Cement of the Universe - Recent Topics in the Theory of Causation" will be organized by members of the LMU philosophy department, March 22-26, 2010. The announcement states that ...

"for some time it has seemed that causation – once dubbed by J.L. Mackie the cement of the universe – would no longer play a major role in metaphysics and philosophy of science. It appeared that in the course of scientific progress – as Bertrand Russell had predicted at the beginning of the 20th century – causal concepts would be gradually supplanted by lawlike correlations and thus become superfluous. Recent years however have seen a revival of philosophical and scientific interest in questions concerning causal relations."

R. Poellinger's talk about Judea Pearl, "Causality" (2000/2009), Pearl's deterministic account of causation, and his answer to David Lewis' counterfactual approach will be part of the session about probabilistic logic.

More information on the VIU website ...

The Talk "Lewis und Pearl: Causation und Causality" (Wednesday, 18 Nov 2009,  room 021, Ludwigstr. 31, 6 p.m. c.t.) deals with two different analyses of cause-effect-relations – talk and discussion in German language.


David Lewis presents in Causation (1973) the counterfactual analysis of cause-effect-relations: If the cause c had not existed, the effect e would have been absent, too. As a means of evaluation Lewis offers a largely unspecified, global similarity measure (between worlds) in Possible World Semantics. Judea Pearl replies to this suggestion with a correlation based approach towards causation in Causality (2000). Possible causes are identified by local adjustment of distinguished and stable autonomous mechanisms – an approach that seems to be natural and operationally effective at the same time.

Download invitation (PDF)

JP_MMC_DesignThe joint research project MindMapsCause is an interdisciplinary attempt to tackle some of the prevailing questions on the border of formal epistemology, logic, neuroscience, and physics. In the focus of the group's regular exchange are the following questions:

• How can the concept of physical causation be interpreted, modeled, utilized, and related to mental causation?

• How can causal insight be related to other tasks in epistemology?

• Is an epistemic interpretation of causation possible/necessary?

• How can the concepts of function, role, and mechanism be understood, formalized, utilized?

• How do we get to variables, recognize patterns, and conceive of models as means of inference?

• How can graphs, categories, and morphisms help in understanding the notions above?

• And: What is the meaning of asking about the ontology of the concepts involved, at all?

In sounding out these closely intertwined topics, the main themes of organization, representation, and operation lay out the roadmap of inquiry.


Members' login to joint knowledge base: LRZ Munich online exchange platform