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Causality in Economics and History

The 40th anniversary of EHESS "Causality in Economics and History" will take place at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, (EHESS) Paris, on Thursday 25 June 2015, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. The deadline for sending an abstract is 20 April 2015.

Over the past several decades, the social sciences have distant from questions of causal explanations, a position that stands in strong contrast to the preoccupations of our disciplines’ founders. The renewed interest for causal analysis in economy since the 2000s has given rise to debates including issues of counterfactuality among others. This has led to a reexamination of the long intellectual trajectory stretching from Aristotle, Bacon, Hume, till  Stuart Mill and today a closer analysis of the most recent works in different disciplines (Economy, Law, Economic History, Sociology, Statistics) raise this question in new ways.

The workshop will discuss works on the processes of causality, which mobilize both the contrafactual approach and other forms of causal inference. Presentation of empirical cases as well as theoretical reflections made in recent publications are welcome. The workshop will focus on discussing contrasting treatments of causality in two disciplines — History and Economics — which employ this notion in different ways.

James A. Robinson, David Florence Professor of Government at the University of Harvard will open this one day discussion with a keynote lecture. Co-author with Jared Diamond, of Natural Experiment in History (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2010), he has also published with Daron Acemoglu, Why Nations Fail? The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty (New York, Crown Business, 2012).

Papers can be presented both in English and in French. From 6 to 7 slots for presentation are available for historians and economists. Special attention will be given to presentations focussing on the forms of causality and the models of reasoning employed in Economy and in History. Each presentation will be discussed by a philosopher.

Please send a short 1-2 page proposal for a paper in either French or English to the organisers Jean Boutier ([email protected]) and Alain Trannoy ([email protected]) before 20 April 2015.

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