Variables can depend on each other in various ways. One way, most familiar to computer and social scientists, is causal dependence. But how else can variables depend on each other? This panel brings philosophers into a conversation with researchers on causal inference to discuss noncausal dependencies between variables and why taking account of such relations might matter for the work of causal inference. Using real-world examples, the panel will overview various noncausal dependencies, such as constitution and grounding, and discuss how failure to recognize noncausal dependencies can lead to significant mistakes in causal reasoning and inference. 



Issa Kohler-Hausmann is professor of law at Yale Law School and associate professor of sociology at Yale University. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she holds a PhD from New York University in sociology, a JD from Yale Law School, and a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her book, Misdemeanorland: Criminal Courts and Social Control in an Age of Broken Windows Policing (Princeton University Press, 2018), is a mixed-method multiyear study of New York City’s lower criminal courts in the era of mass misdemeanor arrests. The book was awarded the Herbert Jacob Book Prize from the Law and Society Association, the Albert J. Reiss, Jr. Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Sociological Association’s Crime, Law, and Deviance Section, and the Mirra Komarovsky Book Award from the Eastern Sociological Society; and it was a finalist for the C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems. Her current research addresses the relationship between social kinds and causal claims, with a special interest in the methodological and theoretical issues entailed in stating and proving discrimination and equal protection claims. Admitted to practice in New York and Connecticut states, the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, and the Western District of Wisconsin, Kohler-Hausmann maintains an active pro bono legal practice. Currently, her practice addresses parole release for people serving life sentences for crimes committed as juveniles.

Shamik Dasgupta is an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at UC Berkeley. He works and teaches primarily in metaphysics and the philosophy of science. His research has focused on using symmetries in physics as a guide to metaphysics.

Robin Dembroff is an assistant professor of philosophy at Yale University. They specialize in metaphysics and feminist philosophy, with an emphasis on theoretical models of social systems and classifications. In addition to scholarly venues, their writing has been featured in popular venues including Scientific American, Boston Review, Time, and The New York Review of Books. They are finishing a book, Real Men on Top: How Patriarchy Weaponizes Gender, which is under contract with Oxford University Press.

Maegan Fairchild is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan and current Harrington Faculty Fellow in philosophy at UT Austin. She received her PhD from the University of Southern California in 2018. Her primary research interests are in metaphysics and philosophical logic. Her recent work explores the motivations for and limits of radically permissive ontologies, with special attention to the role of “anti-arbitrariness” in theory choice.


If you require accommodation for communication, please contact our Access Coordinator at simonsevents [at] berkeley.edutarget="_blank" with as much advance notice as possible.

This event will be held in person and virtually. For those who plan to join virtually, join [here].

Please read on for important information regarding logistics for those planning to register to attend the workshop in-person at Calvin Lab.

Proof of Vaccination
Given current public health directives from state, local, and university authorities, all participants in Simons Institute events must be prepared to demonstrate proof of full vaccination: a vaccination card or photo of the card along with a valid photo ID, or a green or blue Campus Access Badge via the UC Berkeley Mobile app (additional details regarding proof of vaccination can be found here).

Masks are strongly encouraged for all participants. The latest masking requirements on campus can be found here.

Light refreshments will be provided after the lecture. Please note due to current health conditions, we will set up just outside the building. There will be signs to direct you. Please note there is no food or drink allowed in the auditorium. Thank you for helping us to keep the auditorium clean.

Please note: the Simons Institute regularly captures photos and video of activity around the Institute for use in videos, publications, and promotional materials.