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Kate Vredenburgh (LSE): “Causal explanation and revealed preferences”

16 March, 2:00 pm3:30 pm

This event will take place online via Zoom. 

Everyone is welcome to join using a computer with access to the internet and Zoom. To take part just follow these instructions:

Please note that these events are routinely recorded, with the edited footage being made publicly available on our website and YouTube channel. We will only record the audio, the slides and the speaker and will not include the Q&A section. However, any question asked during the talk itself will feature in the final edit.

Abstract: Revealed preference approaches to modeling choice in the social sciences face seemingly devastating predictive, explanatory, and normative objections. In this talk, I will focus on predictive and explanatory objections, and offer two defenses. First, I argue that when revealed preferences are multiple realizable, revealed preferences can causally explain behavior well. But, considerations of multiple realizability open the revealed preference theorist to an equally plausible interpretation of these models, that they pick out a coarse grained psychological disposition. Second, I argue that when agential preferences cannot be easily analytically separated from the environment that produces the relevant behavior, revealed preferences also causally explain, if one adopts a counterfactual dependence account of causal explanation. An upshot of these two arguments is an explanatory dilemma for dispositional interpretations of “preference.” 


Kate Vredenburgh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at LSE.


16 March
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Event Category:


Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method


Online via Zoom