Reutlinger, Alexander (März 2013): A Theory of Causation in the Social and Biological Sciences. The trouble with interventions. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
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What exactly do social scientists and biologists say when they make causal claims? This question is one of the central puzzles in philosophy of science. Alexander Reutlinger sets out to answer this question. He aims to provide a theory of causation in the special sciences (that is, a theory causation in the social sciences, the biological sciences and other higher-level sciences). According one recent prominent view, causation is that causation is intimately tied to manipulability and the possibility of intervene. Reutlinger's main negative target is to argue interventionist account of causation is not adequate. Where do interventionist accounts go wrong? Reutlinger argues that the central concept of the interventionist theories – that is, the very concept of an intervention – is tremendously problematic. Reutlinger's main positive claim consists in replacing the interventionist approach by an alternative explication of causation in the special sciences, the comparative variability theory of causation. This alternative preserves many insights of the interventionist account without a commitment to the claim that causation and interventions are intimately tied together.