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Causal Reasoning in Physics

$35.99 (C)

  • Date Published: March 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316649657

$ 35.99 (C)
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About the Authors
  • Much has been written on the role of causal notions and causal reasoning in the so-called 'special sciences' and in common sense. But does causal reasoning also play a role in physics? Mathias Frisch argues that, contrary to what influential philosophical arguments purport to show, the answer is yes. Time-asymmetric causal structures are as integral a part of the representational toolkit of physics as a theory's dynamical equations. Frisch develops his argument partly through a critique of anti-causal arguments and partly through a detailed examination of actual examples of causal notions in physics, including causal principles invoked in linear response theory and in representations of radiation phenomena. Offering a new perspective on the nature of scientific theories and causal reasoning, this book will be of interest to professional philosophers, graduate students, and anyone interested in the role of causal thinking in science.

    • Argues for the importance of causal thinking in physics
    • Examines concrete examples of causal reasoning in physics in detail, linking philosophical discussion with scientific practice
    • Accessible to readers without a full background in mathematics and physics, and avoids overly mathematical treatments
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "… an impressive and important book. It constitutes a detailed and comprehensive panorama of the recent literature on causation in physics, provides many interesting criticisms of popular anti-causal arguments, and offers a thought-provoking alternative to the prevalent neo-Russellian view. Frisch's book will be required reading for anyone interested in causation and its role in physics."
    Thomas Blanchard, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

    'Mathias Frisch’s Causal Reasoning in Physics (henceforth, CRP) is an engaging, persuasive, and timely defence of the legitimacy and importance of causal reasoning in physics.' Matt Farr, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316649657
    • length: 266 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Users, structures and representation
    3. The human face of causation
    4. Causation and intervention
    5. The temporal asymmetry of causation
    6. Linear response theory
    7. The radiation asymmetry
    8. Entropy accounts of causation
    9. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Mathias Frisch, University of Maryland, College Park
    Mathias Frisch is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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