Causality plays a central role in the sciences. Causal inference (finding out what causes what) and causal explanation (explaining how a cause produces its effect) are major scientific tasks in fields as diverse as astrophysics, biochemistry, biomedical or social sciences. Experimentation is probably the best way to get at causal knowledge. Relatedly, there has recently been a diversification of experimental practices in the sciences, most obviously with the rapid growth of computational science, but also with the extension of more conventional experimental practices to new domains, such as, e.g., parts of economics. This raises important questions: What are the relevant distinctions between different experimental practices? What counts as experimentation today?
Previous conferences in the Causality in the Sciences series have investigated the relationship between causality and challenging concepts such as probability and mechanisms. This one will focus on the relationship between causality and experimentation. This involves questions about the foundations of the sciences, such as: What are the prospects of an interventionist definition of causation? Is experimentation required for causal knowledge? But it also involves questions raised by specific scientific practices, e.g., do computer simulations license the same kind of causal claims as usual experimental practices do? What is the scope of causal conclusions drawn from randomized controlled trials?
These questions are all of important current concern. Much work and money is spent developing new experimental practices and it is important to determine how exactly experiments of different types can contribute to our causal knowledge and to our capacity to act on the things this knowledge is about.
1st June 2013: deadline for receipt of early-bird registration.
Early-bird registration fees: 30 euros
Late registration fees: 60 euros.
1st-3rd July 2013: conference.
This conference is organised by Isabelle Drouet (SND, Paris-Sorbonne University) and Max Kistler (IHPST, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) with the support of the SOciété de PHilosophie Analytique. It is the eighth event in the Causality in the Sciences series of conferences.
The latest version of the program can be downloaded here.