We’re delighted to announce that Neil McDonnell has joined our group. Neil arrives in Hamburg from the University of Glasgow, where he held a postdoctoral research position within the Glasgow Emergence Project. Neil works mainly on issues in contemporary metaphysics, with a particular focus on philosophical questions about causation. As part of his involvement in our project, Neil will be examining foundational questions in the philosophy of causation, with a particular emphasis on methodological questions about the relationship between causal talk and causal reality.
In a serendipitous turn of events, we are also delighted to announce that Neil’s paper “The Deviance in Deviant Causal Chains” has just been accepted for publication in Thought. Abstract below:
Causal theories of action, perception and knowledge are each beset by problems of so-called `deviant’ causal chains. For each such theory,counterexamples are formed using odd or coincidental causal chains to establish that the theory is committed to unpalatable claims about some intentional action, about a case of veridical perception or about the acquisition of genuine knowledge. In this paper I will argue that three well-known examples of a deviant causal chain have something in common: they each violate Yablo’s proportionality constraint on causation. I will argue that this constraint provides the key to saving causal theories from deviant chains.