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Arnaud Pocheville (University of Sydney, Australia), An Introduction to Measuring Causal Specificity

6 April | 14 h 30 min - 16 h 00 min


Several authors have argued that causes differ in the degree to which they are ‘specific’ to their effects. Woodward has used this idea to enrich his influential interventionist the- ory of causal explanation. Here we propose a way to measure causal specificity using tools from information theory. We show that the specificity of a causal variable is not well de- fined without a probability distribution over the states of that variable. We demonstrate the tractability and interest of our proposed measure by measuring the specificity of coding DNA and other factors in a simple model of the production of mRNA.

Based on: , , , , , and , Measuring Causal Specificity, Philosophy of Science (2015).

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6 April
14 h 30 min - 16 h 00 min
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Philosophy & Biology Seminar (Thomas Pradeu)


Bordeaux Pellegrin Hospital, Imagerie Service, 1st floor
Place Amélie Raba Léon
Bordeaux, 33076 France
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