This year’s programme of the conference of the European Philosophy of Science Association (EPSA) features a symposium on ‘Causality and Information’.

This symposium aims to look at causality in an overarching way, removing barriers in academic work focusing on different scientific domains, and bridging philosophy of science and philosophy of technology, which have different approaches to philosophical problems.

Paper 1 sets the context in the philosophy of science, examining the difference between causality as production and as dependence. The paper delves into the problems a productive account of causality is supposed to solve, and examines how informational approaches to causality might help. Paper 2 uses biomarkers research as a test case for an informational account, illustrating how with messy complex interacting causal factors, with great uncertainty, the idea of tracing a causal link can still be vital to the scientific practice – and illuminated informationally. Paper 3 tests the informational approach on a challenging problem – agency. Agency theories struggle to offer an account of causality that is neither circular nor anthropocentric, and this is analogous to certain problems in addressing information. If an informational approach is useful in this and other problem cases, then it might also illuminate other areas. Paper 4 takes a significant further step, laying the ground for an entirely different perspective on causality with respect to our knowledge, by examining an aspect of the problem of causality that naturally arises in the philosophy of technology, but is not addressed in the philosophy of science: poiesis.

As a whole, the papers examine developing thinking about causality and show that for many cutting-edge problems, an informational account is an original and fruitful way forward.

Paper 1: Information and production, Phyllis Illari

Paper 2: The case of biomarkers research, Federica Russo

Paper 3: Information and agency theories, Christoph Schultz

Paper 4: Poiesis, Luciano Floridi