A theory of structural determination

Journal article

Gallow, J. Dmitri. (2016). A theory of structural determination. Philosophical Studies. 173(1), pp. 159 - 186. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-015-0474-5
AuthorsGallow, J. Dmitri

While structural equations modeling is increasingly used in philosophical theorizing about causation, it remains unclear what it takes for a particular structural equations model to be correct. To the extent that this issue has been addressed, the consensus appears to be that it takes a certain family of causal counterfactuals being true. I argue that this account faces difficulties in securing the independent manipulability of the structural determination relations represented in a correct structural equations model. I then offer an alternate understanding of structural determination, and I demonstrate that this theory guarantees that structural determination relations are independently manipulable. The account provides a straightforward way of understanding hypothetical interventions, as well as a criterion for distinguishing hypothetical changes in the values of variables which constitute interventions from those which do not. It additionally affords a semantics for causal counterfactual conditionals which is able to yield a clean solution to a problem case for the standard ‘closest possible world’ semantics.

Keywordsstructural equations; causation; counterfactuals; interventions
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Journal citation173 (1), pp. 159 - 186
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-015-0474-5
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84953214914
Page range159 - 186
Research GroupDianoia Institute of Philosophy
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Place of publicationNetherlands
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