GAP 8 Satellite Workshop

Causation and Laws in the Special Sciences. Metaphysical Foundations
Workshop in Konstanz

21-22 September 2012
subsequent to the GAP 8 Conference 17-20 September

Room tba

The topic of our satellite workshop will be “Causation and Laws in the Special Science – Metaphysical Foundations”. It will take place over two days, Friday, 21st Sept. 2012, 10:00–18:30 and Saturday, 22nd Sept. 2012, 09:30–13:15, in Konstanz, right after GAP 8 (17th till 20th of September 2012). You find a more detailed description of the workshop’s topic below.


Andreas Hüttemann
Jenann Ismael
Benedikt Kahmen
Sandra Mitchell
Gerhard Müller-Strahl
Alyssa Ney
Huw Price
Markus Schrenk

Link to  GAP website:

GAP 8 – Satellite Workshop
Causation and Laws in the Special Science – Metaphysical Foundations

In recent debates in metaphysics of science, a considerable amount of work has been dedicated to causation and (ceteris paribus) laws in the higher-level or special sciences including the life sciences and the social sciences. Assuming some kind of minimal physicalist attitude (such as, at least, non-reductive physicalism), a question arises for accounts of causation and laws in the those sciences: how can one explain that there are causal and nomic facts on the higher-level in a world that is ultimately described by fundamental physics? To put it in even more tendentious words: how do these causal and nomic facts emerge from the physical world?
These questions can, amongst others, be motivated by two challenges for anyone who wants to defend the view that there indeed are causal and nomic facts in the special sciences:
The Russellian Challenge: Neo-Russellians have argued that fundamental physics does not describe causal relations. Hence, the Neo-Russellian challenge for the topic of this workshop consists in explaining how one can consistently maintain that (a) causation is not fundamental (if the fundamental level is completely described by fundamental physics), and that (b) the non-fundamental causal and nomic facts of the special science still obtain.
The Exclusion Challenge: Jaegwon Kim’s various exclusion arguments suggest – if sound – that there simply are no such things as causal and nomic facts which are not located on the fundamental physical level.

Workshop Program


For a detailed program of the workshop in pdf-format please click here.

For Travel and Location Information please visit the GAP 8-webpage.

Registration is kindly requested. Please note that we have only a limited number of places. Please send an email to markus.schrenk[at] by Sunday, 26th August 2012.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact markus.schrenk[at]

Organized by Markus Schrenk and Alexander Reutlinger for the DFG Research Group Causation | Laws | Dispositions | Explanation in collaboration with GAP, the Society for Analytic Philosophy in Germany