Scientific article
Open access

Coherent causal control: a new distinction within causation

ContributorsWeber, Marcelorcid
Published inEuropean journal for philosophy of science, vol. 12, no. 4, 69
First online date2022-11-28


The recent literature on causation has seen the introduction of several distinctions within causation, which are thought to be important for understanding the widespread scientific practice of focusing causal explanations on a subset of the factors that are causally relevant for a phenomenon. Concepts used to draw such distinctions include, among others, stability, specificity, proportionality, or actual-difference making. In this contribution, I propose a new distinction that picks out an explanatorily salient class of causes in biological systems. Some select causes in complex biological systems, I argue, have the property of enabling coherent causal control of these systems. Examples of such control variables include hormones and other signaling molecules, e.g., TOR (target of rapamycin), morphogens or the products of homeotic selector genes in embryonic pattern formation. I propose an analysis of this notion based on concepts borrowed from causal graph theory.

Citation (ISO format)
WEBER, Marcel. Coherent causal control: a new distinction within causation. In: European journal for philosophy of science, 2022, vol. 12, n° 4, p. 69. doi: 10.1007/s13194-022-00499-1
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1879-4912

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Creation11/28/2022 8:17:00 AM
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