Better late than never, here is a quick report on my brief visit to the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in April 2015 — a very kind invitation by Atocha Aliseda and Fernanda Samaniego. It has been an intense week, filled with marvellous discussions with colleagues and students at the Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, meetings with good old friends from the Canterbury times, and even with some sightseeing — in Mexico City, I visited the Museo Interactivo de Economia and the Museo Nacional de Arte.
My Monday lecture was part of the Seminar on Logic and Heuristic organised by Atocha. The themes of their seminar is much broader than what the title suggests. I presented some ideas about philosophy of medicine, specifically how to understand medicine (as an umbrella term that includes several types of medical practices) and what kind of philosophy of science questions I consider interesting therein. Part of what I presented at the seminar is work in progress with Brendan Clarke.
On Tuesday I have a long lecture on causal modelling in the social sciences. This was part of an MA course on explanation, so the focus was what we can explain using causal models in social research, and how. I tried to condense much of what I know about causal modelling in these slides. A lot of what I presented is in my first monograph (Causality and Causal Modelling in the Social Sciences. Measuring Variations. Springer 2009) and in some more recent papers. Students asked plenty of questions — it has been a pleasure lecturing them!
Finally, my Wednesday talk was part of the seminar of the Institute: a broad and heterogeneous audience indeed! I presented what we might call causal pluralism 2.0. This is joint work with Phyllis Illari. Together we wrote a monograph on causality (Causality: Philosophical Theory Meets Scientific Practice, OUP 2014), the aim of which is to put some order in the vast philosophical literature on causation. Our goal, however, goes beyond offering just an introduction to causality. We also offer a view on how all these strands, pieces of the literature may (or should) stand together. We defend a qualified version of causal pluralism, that we explain in analogy with building a mosaic. More explanation in the slides below, and in chapters 23-24 of our book!
I’m so grateful to Atocha and Fernanda for the fantastic occasion to present my work, but mostly for their fantastic hospitality. They really made me feel home. I hope to go back some time soon!