You are invited to the next session of the Biological Interest Group on Monday 24th February. As usual, it will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 1-2pm. Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.
Rani Lill Anjum will present the paper “It’s not all in your genes: the dispositional nature of causal mechanisms in biology”. Here she presents (with her collaborators philosopher Stephen Mumford [https://sites.google.com/site/stephendmumford/] and biologist Thomas Bøhn [http://genok.no/ansatt/thomas-a-bohn/]) a dispositional theory of causation which differs radically from the orthodox view of causation: the two-events plus relation model of Hume. They try to show how the dispositional theory fits better with natural causal processes, and especially as seen in biology. Features such as complexity, context-sensitivity, non-linear composition, and the possibility of interference are emphasized and illustrated with examples from biology.
The work started years ago so needs an update. They are planning on finishing it this spring, and in this connection feedback from the Biological Interest Group would be very helpful. In particular, they are interested in whether there are features in biology that a causal theory ought to be able to explain. Also they are interested in any examples that can be used to support, challenge or develop their account.
This work is part of the Causation in Science project (http://www.umb.no/causci), where the aim is to have an empirically informed theory of causation which can also inform the way scientists think of causation in discovery, explanation and prediction. Dr. Anjum’s background is entirely philosophical (https://sites.google.com/site/ranilillanjum/), but she is interested in causation in biology and medicine.
To obtain the paper, or for any other information, please email Jim Lowe at jwel201 [at] ex.ac.uk
Please do not disseminate this work in progress any further without Dr. Anjum’s express permission.