Causation, Causal Explanation and Objectivity

The first major theme of my research is the nature of causation and causal explanation, both in the general case and also in specific problem cases in the social and biological sciences.

It is widely acknowledged that causal explanation (and perhaps also causation) have a subjective aspect. Even so, I argue that the degree to which these relations are subjective has been considerably under-estimated. To this end, I explore the relationship between these relations and abstraction, levels in nature, laws, natural kinds, and rational agency. I then explore the implications of this view of causation for several issues in the social and biological sciences, including the group selection debate in evolutionary biology and the controversy over rational expectations models in econometrics.

Published work on this theme: