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Causality, Murder Novels, and Determinism


File this under books that might appear on the reading list of a future course in Chaos and Fractals…

A fascinating idea for a book: Stephen Kern’s A Cultural History of Causality: Science, Murder Novels, and Systems of Thought" looks at changing views of causality through time - as played out in murder novels and scientific theories.

Kern is attempting to follow changes in societal explanations for the causes of aberrant human behavior - in this case murder. He juxtaposes this with the increasing refinement in scientific models of causation.

Given our umbrella for this course of "modeling/prediction/understanding", Kern’s study touches on determinism, anti-determinism, and free will - perfect material to muck up our already chaotic understanding of the limits of predicting human behavior.

You can read the source of Kern’s ideas for the study in his own words by clicking here.