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Calculating People

Calculating People is a reading group on history and philosophy of social sciences.

The meetings take place on Tuesdays, 2–3pm UK time on Zoom. Organised by Christopher Clarke and Anna Alexandrova.

All are welcome!

Michaelmas Term 2020

13 October

20 October

Optional:

27 October

  • Christopher Clarke, 'Giving Propensities a Chance', draft chapter from The Value of Causation: From Abstract Metaphysics to Concrete Social Science.

This chapter asks what a theory of propensity ('objective chance') would have to look like if propensities are to do meaningful work in the sciences. It then argues (against skeptical qualitative social sciences) that there are propensities in the social world.

3 November

10 November

  • Rosie Worsdale, article draft 'Radical feminism and sex work research: from feminist ideology critique to a critique of feminist ideology'.

17 November

  • Kirun Sankaran, 'What's new in the new ideology critique?', Philosophical Studies 177, 1441–1462 (2020).

24 November

  • Glynos and Howarth, 'Causal Mechanisms', Chapter 3 of The Logic of Critical Explanation. Routledge 2007.

1 December

  • Christopher Clarke, 'How Causation Constrains Propensity' 'Causation and Decision Making', draft chapter from The Value of Causation: From Abstract Metaphysics to Concrete Social Science.

This chapter asks what a theory of causation would have to look like if causation is to do meaningful work in the sciences. It argues against the standard view that the most fundamental role for causation is as a guide to effective decision-making. The alternative view I offer, unlike the standard view, makes sense of the fact that (social) scientists often appeal to Reichenbach's principle of the common cause.