CFP: Explanation Beyond Causation

October 23-24, 2014, LUM Munich

Idea and Motivation:
The presently received view regarding the question “what is a scientific explanation?” is the causal model of explanation. According to this model, the sciences explain by providing information about causes and causal mechanisms. However, in the recent literature, an increasing number of philosophers argue that the explanatory practices in the sciences are considerably richer than the causal model suggests. These philosophers argue that there are non-causal explanations that cannot be accommodated by the causal model. Case studies of non-causal explanations come in a surprisingly diverse variety: for instance, the non-causal character of scientific explanations is based on the explanatory use of non-causal laws, purely mathematical facts, symmetry principles, inter-theoretic relations, renormalization group methods, and so forth. However, if there are non-causal ways of explaining, then the causal model cannot be the whole story about scientific explanation. The goal of the conference is to shed light on, by and large, unexplored philosophical terrain: that is, to develop a philosophical account of various aspects of non-causal explanations in the sciences.

Stephan Hartmann (MCMP/LMU)
Alexander Reutlinger (MCMP/LMU)

Program Committee:
Holly Andersen (Vancouver)
Sorin Bangu (Bergen)
Otavio Bueno (Miami)
Lorenzo Casini (MCMP/LMU)
Mazviita Chirimuuta (Pittsburgh)
Matteo Colombo (Tilburg)
Henk de Regt (Amsterdam)
Catherine Herfeld (MCMP/LMU)
Meinard Kuhlmann (Bielefeld)
Bert Leuridan (Ghent)
Paolo Mancosu (Berkeley)
Chris Pincock (Columbus, Ohio)
Stathis Psillos (London, Ontario)
Juha Saatsi (Leeds)
Michael Strevens (New York City)
Erik Weber (Ghent)
Dates and Deadlines

Submission deadline: 1 March, 2014
Notification of acceptance: 15 March, 2014
Registration deadline: 10 October, 2014
Conference: 23-24 October, 2014

Call for papers

The aim of this conference is to investigate conceptual, epistemological, and metaphysical aspects of non-causal explanations in the sciences. This includes questions such as the following:

-How does one adequately distinguish causal and non-causal explanations?
-Is there a philosophically interesting model of scientific explanation that subsumes causal and non-causal explanations?
-Are all non-causal explanations ultimately mathematical explanations?
-What are the metaphysical implications and presuppositions of non-causal explanations?

We invite submissions of both a short abstract (max. 100 words) and an extended abstract (1000 words) through our automatic submission system by 1 March, 2014. To submit, please prepare your abstracts for blind review, and save your extended abstract as a PDF file. Then follow the link to our Conference System.

When logged in, go to the new submission page. Include your 100 words abstract and upload the PDF file of your extended abstract. You will be able to revise your submission any number of times before the deadline (1 March, 2014). Please feel free to contact the organizers with any questions you may have.

The conference language is English.

Deadline: March 1, 2014

Posted: February 12, 2014