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Event: Conference: Heuristics and Causality in the Sciences

Event date June 01, 2020 - June 03, 2020
Submission deadline March 10, 2020
Location UK
Host(s) University College London
Event website/information 

Call for papers

Heuristics and Causality in the Sciences (HaCitS)

University College London, 1-3 June 2020

Organisers: Phyllis Illari (Science and Technology Studies, UCL), Samantha Kleinberg (Computer Science, Stevens Institute of Technology), and David Lagnado (Psychology, UCL).

Please circulate widely — Apologies for crossposting

This is the fourteenth conference in the Causality in the Sciences series of conferences. Causality plays a central role in the sciences. Causal inference, explanation and reasoning are major concerns in fields as diverse as computer science, psychology, astrophysics, biochemistry, biomedical or social sciences.

Following Herbert Simon’s work, ideas of heuristics have also been pervasive in fields as diverse as computer science, psychology, and game theoryand are recently of interest in questions of evidence in philosophy of biology and biomedical sciences.

Heuristics have been understood in many ways, but they are united by offering problem solving or discovery methods when traditionally ‘optimal’ search is impossible or otherwise undesirable:

–        Simon: following Polya, bounded rationality, and heuristics as using what you know to suggest where next to search

–        A lot of work including Kahnemann and Tversky, and Gigerenzer: studying how people can reason in less than ‘optimal’ ways that meet their needs in particular locations

–        Work in the realm of Griffiths et al: ‘resource-rational’, or making what is computationally intractable tractable, by making a rational resource trade-off.

These ideas have influenced thinking in many disciplines, and this conference aims to bring together researchers from multiple disciplines, working on diverse questions of heuristics and causality.  We offer some suggested topics of interest but encourage submission of abstracts on all related topics:

–        What are heuristics, and what does it mean to search for causes in some less than optimal way?

–        Should we seek one best view of heuristics, or is there potentially a toolbox of heuristic formalisms that may apply to different areas?

–        How should we think about heuristics for non-formal evidence of and reasoning about causality?

– Are there heuristics that are particularly fruitful for model-building (perhaps for a specific domain)?

–        How does – or should – heuristic search change how we use the resulting evidence or models?

–        Computational methods for causal inference and the tradeoff between provably correct methods (with strong assumptions) and heuristic methods (that work in reality but have no guarantees)

–        Judgment and decision-making heuristics and how causes fit in


Lindley Darden

Bobbie Spellman (tbc)

Daniel Goldstein (tbc)

*Provisional Timetable**

·    10th March 2020: deadline for submission of titles and abstracts of papers for presentation at the conference

◦      Please submit an abstract (300 words max).

◦  Send your abstract in doc, docx, txt, rtf or pdf format.

◦ To be submitted on easychair:

·   31st March 2020: notification of acceptance.

·   1st May 2020: deadline for receipt of early-bird registration

◦           Details of registration and payment will be published on the website.

·   June 2020: Week 1 (1st-5th June) conference.

Abstracts will be refereed by the CitS steering committee and local organiser: Samantha Kleinberg, Phyllis Illari, David Lagnado, Bert Leuridan, Julian Reiss, Federica Russo, Erik Weber, Jon Williamson

**Further information**

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