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Bright, Liam Kofi, Daniel Malinsky, Morgan Thompson. Causally Interpreting Intersectionality Theory
2016, Philosophy of Science 83(1): 60–81
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Abstract: Social scientists report difficulties in drawing out testable predictions from the literature on intersectionality theory. We alleviate that difficulty by showing that some characteristic claims of the intersectionality literature can be interpreted causally. The formal-ism of graphical causal modeling allows claims about the causal effects of occupying intersecting identity categories to be clearly represented and submitted to empirical test-ing. After outlining this causal interpretation of intersectional theory, we address some concerns that have been expressed in the literature claiming that membership in demo-graphic categories can have causal effects.

Comment: This text contains a summary of some key concepts in intersectionality theory and a discussion of how they have been used in empirical sociological research, as well as an introduction to methods of causal statistical inference. Students needing an introduction to any of these things could therefore benefit from this text. It also contains arguments about the permissibility of using demographic categories as the basis of causal claims that may be interesting matters of dispute or discussion for students of the philosophy of race.

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Hendricks, Vincent, , . Mainstream and Formal Epistemology
2006, Cambridge University Press.
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Added by: Jamie Collin, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Mainstream and Formal Epistemology provides the first easily accessible yet erudite and original analysis of the meeting point between mainstream and formal theories of knowledge. These two strands of thinking have traditionally proceeded in isolation from one another but in this book Vincent F. Hendricks brings them together for a systematic comparative treatment. He demonstrates how mainstream and formal epistemology may significantly benefit from one another, paving the way for a new unifying program of ‘plethoric’ epistemology. His book will both define and further the debate between philosophers from two very different sides of the epistemological spectrum.

Comment: This would be useful in a course on epistemology, formal epistemology, philosophical logic or formal methods in philosophy. Though the abstract describes the book as easily accessible, it is fairly technical in places (though remains a good introduction to the topic). Later chapters do rely, to some extent, on earlier ones; however, individual chapters from this book would provide very good introductions to topics such as the analysis of knowledge, modal epistemology, contextualism in epistemology etc.

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Lynch, Kate E., , . Heritability and causal reasoning
2017, Biology & Philosophy 32: 25–49.
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Hannah Rubin

Abstract: Gene–environment (G–E) covariance is the phenomenon whereby genetic differences bias variation in developmental environment, and is particularly problematic for assigning genetic and environmental causation in a heritability analysis. The interpretation of these cases has differed amongst biologists and philosophers, leading some to reject the utility of heritability estimates altogether. This paper examines the factors that influence causal reasoning when G–E covariance is present, leading to interpretive disagreement between scholars. It argues that the causal intuitions elicited are influenced by concepts of agency and blame-worthiness, and are intimately tied with the conceptual understanding of the phenotype under investigation. By considering a phenotype-specific approach, I provide an account as to why causal ascriptions can differ depending on the interpreter. Phenotypes like intelligence, which have been the primary focus of this debate, are more likely to spark disagreement for the interpretation of G–E covariance cases because the concept and ideas about its ‘normal development’ relatively ill-defined and are a subject of debate. I contend that philosophical disagreement about causal attributions in G–E covariance cases are in essence disagreements regarding how a phenotype should be defined and understood. This moves the debate from one of an ontological flavour concerning objective causal claims, to one concerning the conceptual, normative and semantic dependencies.

Comment: This paper discusses difficulties for determining whether traits like intelligence are heritable, drawing on philosophical work regarding causal intuitions. It’s accessible enough to use in a lower-level undergraduate course, but also generates good discussion in a graduate level course. It could be used to further a discussion about the nature of genes or in a discussion of philosophy of race/gender from a biological perspective.

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Moss, Sarah, , . Epistemology Formalized
2013, Philosophical Review: 122(1): 1-43.
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by:

Abstract: This paper argues that just as full beliefs can constitute knowledge, so can properties of your credence distribution. The resulting notion of probabilistic knowledge helps us give a natural account of knowledge ascriptions embedding language of subjective uncertainty, and a simple diagnosis of probabilistic analogs of Gettier cases. Just like propositional knowledge, probabilistic knowledge is factive, safe, and sensitive. And it helps us build knowledge-based norms of action without accepting implausible semantic assumptions or endorsing the claim that knowledge is interest-relative.

Comment: Suitable for an upper-level undergraduate courses or master courses on epistemology or formal epistemology. It is good for teachings on topics of the relation between credence and knowledge, and pragmatic encroachment.

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