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Galileo's Interventionist Notion of Cause - Essay Example

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In Galileo's Interventionist Notion of "Cause", Steffen Ducheyne has deliberated on Galileo's development of a "new notion of causality",which was primarily based on interventionist school. …
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Galileos Interventionist Notion of Cause
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Galileo's Interventionist Notion of Cause

In Galileo's Interventionist Notion of "Cause", Steffen Ducheyne has deliberated on Galileo's development of a "new notion of causality" (p.443), which was primarily based on interventionist school. Steffen used respective studies and analyses from past and current researchers and presented his point of view after contrasting it from pro and con views, thus, highlighted his own point of view in an oblique way. Steffan said that Galileo believed that in order to find a causal link, one should be able to manipulate changes and the resultant changes should be reflected as effects of original changes. Thus, if A causes B and changes in A also affect B, causal relationship is established. Galileo, like a seeker, was looking for the hidden and accidental causes of effects. He was more interested in the "root" than in the "how" of a cause.Analysts have been divided by the question of whether Galileo really presented causal inquiries in his explanations of nature's phenomena as causal explanations are more easily found in Galileo's earlier works than later ones. An analysis by Ernan supported Galileo by reinterpreting this absence of "cause" in Galileo's later works as an increasing focus on kinematics, which was a precursor of dynamics, since only after properties of motion were described fully, can the respective causal explanations follow. Peter Machammer, however, believed that Galileo's unconcern for causes was reflected by the fact that he was not concerned with extrinsic causes but with "formal and final causes, and sometimes material causes" (Ducheyne, p.446). Galileo in his earliest work De Motu explicitly stated his quest not to seek for apparent causes of observable facts.
Galileo's usage of causal language may be analogous to Aristotelian reflection of causes as laid down in Aristotle's Posterior Analysis, and typified by a procedure involving analysis and deduction from observed effect to possible cause and reverse composition from cause to the effect. According to Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Galileo had achieved a remarkable feat of breaking away from traditional stereotyped Aristotelian concepts to scientific concepts that were used as a basis of "new sciences" and the foundation stone of new philosophy. (Peter Machamer, Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
It is how Galileo used causal explanation, Steffan believed, would help unravel Galileo's reasoning thread and allow the novel features, the interventionist element, in Galileo's causal explanations to come through. True causes, according to Galileo, should be closest or most efficacious in producing the effects. If an effect is not produced then the concerned element is not the true cause.

Discussion
Julian Reiss in Causal Instrumental Variables and Interventions argued against taking causal inferences on the basis of causal claims as reliable if these were based on instrumental variables. He said that taking a set of assumptions to fulfill an instrument analogous to James Woodward's intervention and causal inference might be permissible. However, he argued that for the relationship to hold, the set of assumptions might have to be very strong (Julian Reiss, Causal Instrumental Variables and Interventions). Galileo on the other hand is shown to be quite eager to proclaim his universal causality theory for all true causes. Galileo's explanations seem to have improved over his predecessors (Aristotle), however in hindsight specific lacunas or flaws can now be identified. However it goes to Galileo's credit to have improved thinking from set compartmentalized way into what he believed to better and truer explanation.
Galileo believed that the phenomenon of tides was the principle proof that the Earth moved. He set out to prove his theory by postulating that an appropriate model could largely reproduce the effect of the tides, whereas other causes (of the tides) that were promulgated at that time could not produce the desired effect. Galileo can be credited with laying seeds of scientific analysis and being able to study ... Read More
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