The London School of Economics and Political Science announces that the 2005 Lakatos Award, of £10,000 for an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science, goes to:
James Woodward (California Institute of Technology), for his book Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation (Oxford University Press, 2003).
Woodward’s long awaited book is an attempt to construct a comprehensive account of causation explanation that applies to a wide variety of causal and explanatory claims in different areas of science and everyday life. The book engages some of the relevant literature from other disciplines, as Woodward weaves together examples, counterexamples, criticisms, defenses, objections, and replies into a convincing defense of the core of his theory, which is that we can analyze causation by appeal to the notion of manipulation.
Lakatos Award Lecture
4 May 2006, 5.30pm
Old Theatre, London School of Economics
Sensitive and Insensitive Causation
The issue of obtaining evidence for causal relationships between particular variables X and Y is a vital one, both for ordinary life and for the social and biological sciences. Does the MMR vaccine cause increased rates of autism or is it merely ‘accidentally’ associated with it? Is poverty a cause of crime or only associated with it? This lecture argues that the sensitivity of a causal relationship is an important key to understanding here.