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Causality and Modelling in the Sciences

UNED, Madrid 29th June-1st July 2015

Venue: Sala Sáez Torrecilla (Room)
Planta baja Edificio de CC. Económicas y Empresariales (Building).
UNED Paseo Senda del Rey, 11. 28040 Madrid

Invited Speakers:
Caterina Marchionni(University of Helsinki)
Michael Weisberg (University of Pennsylvania)
Charlotte Werndl (Salzburg University)


Both causality and modelling play a central role in the sciences. Causal inference (finding out what causes what) and causal explanation (explaining how a cause produces its effect) are major scientific tasks in fields as diverse as astrophysics, biochemistry, biomedical or social and behavioural sciences, and questions of causality are typically investigated by building models. Many models have become famous in their own right, such as Bohr’s model of the atom, still used long after the background theory was abandoned; the Lotka-Volterra model of the dynamic interactions between predator and prey; the Ising model in physics (and now econophysics) showing by simulation how phase change can be caused by a small number of parameters; the Schelling model in social sciences, demonstrating again by simulation that only a mild preference for living closer to those of similar racial origin to yourself can lead to the formation of ghettos; and the Phillips Machine built to model the macro-economy. Styles of models range from complex computational simulations to equations or groups of equations, to conceptualisations of a problem, often made more concrete in diagrams or animations. There has been recent work on many aspects of modelling, including issues that impact on the public domain, such as the appropriateness of economic models in light of the global financial crash, or the challenges of climate modelling.

Previous conferences in the Causality in the Sciences series have investigated the relationship between causality and challenging concepts such as probability, mechanisms, evidence, experimentation and complexity. This one will focus on the relationship between causality and modelling.

Organized by the CiTS Steering Commitee (Isabelle Drouet, Phyllis Illari, Bert Leuridan, Julian Reiss, Federica Russo, Erik Weber, Jon Williamson) and María Jimenez-Buedo (UNED, Madrid).

Local organization: Javier González de Prado and Susana Monsó (UNED).

This is the tenth conference in the Causality in the Sciences series of conferences.

For further information email mjbuedo@fsof.uned.es