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Ideas of Stathis Psillos, by Text

[Greek, b.1965, Formerly at the London School of Economics, then at the University of Athens]

1999 Scientific Realism
p.156 Scientific properties are defined by the laws that embody them [Ladyman/Ross]
2002 Causation and Explanation
p.175 Dispositional essentialism can't explain its key distinction between essential and non-essential properties
Intro p.2 There are non-causal explanations, most typically mathematical explanations
Intro p.4 Regularity doesn't seem sufficient for causation
Intro p.6 Causes clearly make a difference, are recipes for events, explain effects, and are evidence
Intro p.7 Theories of causation are based either on regularity, or on intrinsic relations of properties
Intro p.8 It is not a law of nature that all the coins in my pocket are euros, though it is a regularity
Intro p.10 Empiricists tried to reduce causation to explanation, which they reduced to logic-plus-a-law
Intro p.11 We can't base our account of causation on explanation, because it is the wrong way round
Intro p.16 Maybe explanation is entirely relative to the interests and presuppositions of the questioner
1.6 p.34 Traditionally, rational beliefs are those which are justified by reasons
1.6 p.40 The 'epistemic fallacy' is inferring what does exist from what can be known to exist
1.7 p.42 It is hard to analyse causation, if it is presupposed in our theory of the functioning of the mind
1.8 p.47 Nothing is more usual than to apply to external bodies every internal sensation which they occasion
11.1 p.281 Explanation is either showing predictability, or showing necessity, or showing causal relations
2.2 p.62 Counterfactual claims about causation imply that it is more than just regular succession
3.3 p.98 In some counterfactuals, the counterfactual event happens later than its consequent
4.5 p.127 Three divisions of causal theories: generalist/singularist, intrinsic/extrinsic, reductive/non-reductive
4.5.2 p.128 If causation is 'intrinsic' it depends entirely on the properties and relations of the cause and effect
4.5.4 p.131 Counterfactual theories say causes make a difference - if c hadn't occurred, then e wouldn't occur
4.5.4 p.133 A Humean view of causation says it is regularities, and causal facts supervene on non-causal facts
5.3 p.141 "All gold cubes are smaller than one cubic mile" is a true universal generalisation, but not a law
5.6 p.149 Laws are sets of regularities within a simple and strong coherent system of wider regularities
8.1 p.217 The regularity of a cock's crow is used to predict dawn, even though it doesn't cause it
8.2 p.218 Just citing a cause does not enable us to understand an event; we also need a relevant law
8.2 p.219 An explanation is the removal of the surprise caused by the event
8.2 p.222 The 'covering law model' says only laws can explain the occurrence of single events
8.5 p.224 If laws explain the length of a flagpole's shadow, then the shadow also explains the length of the pole
8.6 p.231 An explanation can just be a 'causal story', without laws, as when I knock over some ink
8.8 p.236 A good barometer will predict a storm, but not explain it
8.9 p.236 If we say where Mars was two months ago, we offer an explanation without a prediction
9.2.1 p.248 Valid deduction is monotonic - that is, it remains valid if further premises are added
9.2.1 p.248 Induction (unlike deduction) is non-monotonic - it can be invalidated by new premises
2006 What do powers do when they are not manifested?
p.151 p.27 Powers are claimed to be basic because fundamental particles lack internal structure