Samuel Lee

PhD Candidate, Department of Philosophy, GSAS

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (September 2 - December 15) :

Lee’s dissertation is about causality—causes and their effects. He wants to know what it is for one thing to cause another. Why? Because causality permeates our understanding of just about everything. To predict whether a certain event will occur, we look to see whether anything that might cause it to occur is currently in place. To explain why things happened the way they did, we appeal to the factors that caused the course of events we observed. When formulating effective strategies to achieve our ends, we take note of the causal structure of the world and decide where in the network of causal relationships would be most prudent to intervene so as to best realise our goals. And when apportioning moral responsibility for outcomes, we look to what, and who, was causally responsible for what happened. Causality is at the very centre of the human conceptual scheme. Lee argues that we can shed light on our conceptual landscape by attending to a duality at the heart of causality: some causal relationships are fundamental, whiles others are derivative. After working to establish this fundamental-derivative split, Lee offers a bipartite theory of causality consonant with its duality, and uses it to resolve a number of outstanding philosophical puzzles. He will use his time in Shanghai to work closely with Brad Weslake, a leading metaphysician and philosopher of science who has made a number of critical contributions to our understanding of causality.

Last Name
Fellows Type
Global Dissertation Fellowship
Global Dissertation Fellowship semester
Fall 2019