Causation in the Social World
CitationHu, Lily. 2022. Causation in the Social World. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractCausation and causal claims abound in the social world as much as in the natural world. But a dominant theory of causation, prevalent among philosophers of causation and scientists who pursue causal inquiry, an interventionist theory of causation, is flawed when applied to cases of social causation. Or so I argue. I pursue in this dissertation various challenges to interventionist analyses of social causation: In Chapter 1, I argue directly against a causal structure of the social world limned by interventionism. I claim in Chapter 2 that causal theorizing about social categories such as race involves ineliminable substantive moral and political considerations, a feature for which interventionism cannot well account. In Chapter 3, I turn to discuss the distinctively normative set of issues with adopting a certain kind of interventionism-based causal analysis of discrimination. My suggestion is that these normative upshots make for a strong practical case against the interventionist causal account of discrimination. If I am right in my arguments throughout these chapters, interventionism is not well-suited to the explanatory and normative aims of our causal theorizing. Thus, if the interventionist idea does in fact undergird many of the ways we pursue causal inquiry about the social world, then such practices should either be revised or perhaps even be abandoned.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37372043
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