Seminar on History and Philosophy of Science
Abstract: Mental simulation is widely implicated in causal cognition. But how should we understand appeal to simulation in accounts of causal reasoning? On one view, it should be construed as part of a "process model" or an algorithmic-level account, specifying details omitted from a proper computational-level account, e.g., one based on structural equations. I propose instead that causal simulation be understood as a distinctive alternative to familiar formal treatments of causation. The proposal is supported by a combination of formal and empirical observations.