Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of Language
Department of Philosophy, Western University
Erlantz Etxeberria is a philosopher and engineer, currently enrolled in the PhD program in the philosophy department. His main research interests focus on the use of causation and explanation in the sciences, and the way in which philosophy can help make sense of these notions.
Erlantz received his MA degree in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he wrote his MA thesis on James Woodward’s theory of causation and explanation. Before studying at Colorado, he got a BA in philosophy from the Autonomous University of Madrid, and a BE in electronic engineering from the University of the Basque Country.
My main research interests focus on the notion and use of causation and explanation in the sciences. The notion of causation has been long discussed by metaphysicians and philosophers of science alike, but virtually all attempts to analyze the concept of causation face serious counterexamples or end up appealing to related notions such as laws of nature and counterfactuals, which provide little illumination to causation. Yet, scientists have continued to make causal claims, causal inferences and appeal to causal evidence in their research. Likewise, scientific explanations are usually provided in the form of causal relations between different variables, making causation a central element of explanation. James Woodward has put forth a metaphysically lightweight theory of causation and explanation that focuses on the actual way scientists use causation in their fields and has proved successful to capture much of their scientific practice. My current research aims to investigate the extension and applicability of Woodward’s theory. In particular, I am most interested in assessing the adequacy of this theory with respect to the use of causation and explanation in the social sciences (e.g. sociology, history) as opposed to natural sciences, which have traditionally received most attention in the philosophy of science. In addition, since Woodward’s theory is based on counterfactual conditionals, I am also interested in a naturalistic interpretation of counterfactuals as they are used in scientific practice.
2016 “Can Scientific Models Explain?” in the Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science annual meeting. University of Calgary, AB.
2014 “On Self Directed Irony” in the 4th Annual Weber Graduate Philosophy Conference, San Diego State University, CA.
2013 “A Deadline Saved Buridan’s Ass” in the 2nd IFL Graduate Student Conference: Reasons and Deliberation in Real-World Contexts, Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal)
2012 “Time Without Change: a Challenge to Shoemaker’s Argument” in the 16th annual Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, Forest Grove, OR.
Fall 2015: Questions of the Day. University of Western Ontario (TA)
Spring 2016: Understanding Science. University of Western Ontario (TA)