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::: center home >> people >> visiting fellows, 2007-08 >> woodward

James Woodward
California Institute of Technology, USA
Fall 2007
Causal explanation and related ideas in the special sciences, especially biology and psychology

Jim Woodward is the J.O. and Juliette Koeplfi Professor of Humanities and the California Institute of Technology. He is the author of Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation, which won the 2005 Lakatos Award.  His current philosophical interests include:  

(1) Extending the interventionist account of causation and explanation defended in this book  to issues having to do with the structure of causal explanation in various special sciences, especially biology and psychology. Relatedly, the investigation of various causal concepts  that play a distinctive role in these sciences, such as the concept  of causal specificity,  the concept of a (relatively) stable or insensitive causal relationship, and the concept of modular causal organization. Representative recent publications include:   “Sensitive and Insensitive Causation”. The Philosophical Review , "Mental Causation and Neural Mechanisms “ forthcoming in Being Reduced , and  “Cause and Explanation in Psychiatry: An Interventionist Perspective” Forthcoming in Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry: Explanation, Phenomenology and Nosology.

(2) Issues about the empirical psychology of causal learning and reasoning and how such issues bear on  the assessment of  normative, philosophical accounts of causation. Representative publication: “Interventionist Theories of Causation in Psychological Perspective”,   in  Causal Learning: Psychology, Philosophy and Computation.  

(3) Empirical Ethics. This includes  issues about the empirical psychology of moral judgment and decision-making, the neural structures that underlie these and investigations of behavior in morally charged situations. Relevant recent publications include:  “Experimental Investigations of Social Preferences” Forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics. , “Social Preferences in Experimental Economics” Forthcoming in PSA 06, vol.  2., "Why Do People Cooperate as Much as They Do” Forthcoming in  ) Philosophy of the Social Sciences: Philosophical Theory and Scientific Practice,  “Moral Intuition: Its  Neural Substrates and Normative Significance” (co-authored with John Allman) forthcoming in  Journal of Physiology- Paris, "What are Moral Intuitions and Why Should We Care About Them? A Neurobiological Perspective ”,   f orthcoming in Philosophical Issues. 


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