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Reuben E Stern

Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Selected Publications

Comparative opinion loss

Journal Article Philosophy and Phenomenological Research · November 1, 2023 It is a consequence of the theory of imprecise credences that there exist situations in which rational agents inevitably become less opinionated toward some propositions as they gather more evidence. The fact that an agent's imprecise credal state can dila ... Full text Cite

Anti-reductionist Interventionism

Journal Article British Journal for the Philosophy of Science · March 1, 2023 Kim’s causal exclusion argument purports to demonstrate that the non-reductive physicalist must treat mental properties (and macro-level properties in general) as causally inert. A number of authors have attempted to resist Kim’s conclusion by utilizing th ... Full text Cite

Interventionist counterfactuals and the nearness of worlds

Journal Article Synthese · December 1, 2021 A number of authors have recently used causal models to develop a promising semantics for non-backtracking counterfactuals. Briggs (Philosophical Studies 160:39–166, 2012) shows that when this semantics is naturally extended to accommodate right-nested cou ... Full text Cite

Causal concepts and temporal ordering

Journal Article Synthese · November 1, 2021 Though common sense says that causes must temporally precede their effects, the hugely influential interventionist account of causation makes no reference to temporal precedence. Does common sense lead us astray? In this paper, I evaluate the power of the ... Full text Cite

Erratum: An Interventionist's Guide to Exotic Choice (Mind (2021) 130:518 (537–566) DOI: 10.1093/mind/fzaa082)

Journal Article Mind · October 1, 2021 This manuscript was first published with some formatting errors that resulted in the illegibility of Figure 4 and Figure 8. These formatting errors have now been corrected. ... Full text Cite

An Interventionist's Guide to Exotic Choice

Journal Article Mind · April 1, 2021 In this paper, I use interventionist causal models to identify some novel Newcomb problems, and subsequently use these problems to refine existing interventionist treatments of causal decision theory. The new Newcomb problems that make trouble for existing ... Full text Cite

The similarity of causal structure

Journal Article Philosophy of Science · December 1, 2019 Whether y obtains under the counterfactual supposition that x is thought to depend on whether y obtains in the most similar world(s) in which x obtains. Graphical causal models have proved useful in developing a principled notion of similarity between worl ... Full text Cite

Causal Explanatory Power

Journal Article British Journal for the Philosophy of Science · December 1, 2019 Schupbach and Sprenger ([2011]) introduce a novel probabilistic approach to measuring the explanatory power that a given explanans exerts over a corresponding explanandum. Though we are sympathetic to their general approach, we argue that it does not (with ... Full text Cite

Decision and Intervention

Journal Article Erkenntnis · August 1, 2019 Meek and Glymour (Br J Philos Sci 45:1001–1021, 1994) use the graphical approach to causal modeling to argue that one and the same norm of rational choice can be used to deliver both causal-decision-theoretic verdicts and evidential-decision-theoretic verd ... Full text Cite

Two sides of modus ponens

Journal Article Journal of Philosophy · November 1, 2018 Full text Cite

The frugal inference of causal relations

Journal Article British Journal for the Philosophy of Science · September 1, 2018 Recent approaches to causal modelling rely upon the causal Markov condition, which specifies which probability distributions are compatible with a directed acyclic graph (DAG). Further principles are required in order to choose among the large number of DA ... Full text Cite

In defense of interventionist solutions to exclusion.

Journal Article Studies in history and philosophy of science · April 2018 Full text Cite

Interventionist decision theory

Journal Article Synthese · October 1, 2017 Jim Joyce has argued that David Lewis’s formulation of causal decision theory is inadequate because it fails to apply to the “small world” decisions that people face in real life. Meanwhile, several authors have argued that causal decision theory should be ... Full text Cite

A causal understanding of when and when not to Jeffrey conditionalize

Journal Article Philosophers Imprint · January 1, 2017 There are cases of ineffable learning — i. e., cases where an agent learns something, but becomes certain of nothing that she can express — where it is rational to update by Jeffrey conditionalization. But there are likewise cases of ineffable learning whe ... Cite

Systems without a graphical causal representation

Journal Article Synthese · January 1, 2014 There are simple mechanical systems that elude causal representation. We describe one that cannot be represented in a single directed acyclic graph. Our case suggests limitations on the use of causal graphs for causal inference and makes salient the point ... Full text Cite

Puzzles for ZFEL, McShea and Brandon's zero force evolutionary law

Journal Article Biology and Philosophy · September 1, 2012 In their 2010 book, Biology's First Law, D. McShea and R. Brandon present a principle that they call "ZFEL," the zero force evolutionary law. ZFEL says (roughly) that when there are no evolutionary forces acting on a population, the population's complexity ... Full text Cite