WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION

This workshop is concerned with understanding the relationships between the discussions about causation in three scientific disciplines: linguistics, philosophy and psychology. Among other goals we will examine whether it is possible to evaluate available philosophical approaches to causation, dealt in the context of epistemology, metaphysics and in Philosophy of Science, against the variety of linguistic phenomena ranging across dedicated morphemes, prepositions, connectives and verbs. Similarly, we would like to consider Psychological-Cognitive study of the perception of causal relations, in an attempt to examine whether these analyses of the concept may give linguists the tools to provide more nuanced analyses, and whether conversely insights from linguistic work can benefit psychological and philosophical studies.

Some of the issues to be discussed depend on how philosophical questions are embodied in linguistic phenomena, for instance:

  1. Should causation be understood as a relation between events or propositions? Can negative events/omissions participate in causal relations? Causation and explanation; Causation as a transitive relation; necessary and sufficient conditions for evaluating the relevant cause in a particular setting; the role of norms in causal judgements and how it is formalized in linguistic expressions.
  1. Decomposition of the notion of causation into a counterfactual analyses vs. a conception of causation as a semantic primitive. In this context, up for debate is whether causation should be understood as a relation between two events, or between individuals, or rather a relation between an agentive individual and an event.

Other issues have as a starting point questions that particular linguistic phenomena give rise to, for instance:

  1. In what way morpho-syntactic differences shape or constrain the interpretative properties of causation?
  2. Are there familiar linguistic phenomena that receive a more adequate account when they are understood to underlie a causal relation?

 

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