On causality

Some very interesting thoughts on causality – as well as the interplay between philosophers and scientists.

Footnotes to Plato

Cause and effectCausality is one strange concept. It is absolutely essential to our understanding of the so-called “manifest image” of the world, i.e., the world as perceived and navigated by human beings. (The distinction between the manifest and the scientific image was introduced by philosopher Wilfred Sellars.) It is crucial for us to distinguish between events that happen because (i.e., are caused by) other events, vs things that appear to be the result of chains of cause-effect but really aren’t. We think smoking, statistically speaking, causes cancer, meaning that there are physical events that make it more likely that if you are a smoker you will get cancer. But when a few years ago someone showed a statistically significant correlation between number of births in London and frequency of storks flying overhead, nobody cried out for a revision of human biology textbooks…

View original post 1,674 more words


About Sif S. Stewart-Ferrer

Passion for knowledge - especially the philosophy of natural science. BA in Philosophy from the University of Southern Denmark. Masters Student in Anthropology at Aarhus University, Denmark. Involvements include the Initiative for Science, Society and Policy (ISSP) in the Living Technology branch, being an Honors Student at Center for Fundamental Living Technology (FLinT, www.flint.sdu.dk) and being part of the 2010 Team:SDU-Denmark in the international MIT competition in synthetic biology known by the name of iGEM (www.igem.org). Interests include philosophy (the philosophy of science and environmental ethics), mycology, martial arts (wing chun and aikido), anthropology (anthropocene, Nepal), computer games and outdoor life.
This entry was posted in Miscellaneous. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s