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Causal LearningPsychology, Philosophy, and Computation$
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Alison Gopnik and Laura Schulz

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195176803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195176803.001.0001

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On the Importance of Causal Taxonomy

On the Importance of Causal Taxonomy

Chapter:
(p.101) 7 On the Importance of Causal Taxonomy
Source:
Causal Learning
Author(s):

Christopher Hitchcock

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195176803.003.0008

Using a standard counterexample to probabilistic theories of causation as an illustration, this chapter argues that there are a number of questions which one might ask about a putative causal relationship: Is it causal at all? What is the direction of the relationship? What is its strength? How does the cause compare with various alternatives? How stable is it under changes in background conditions? What are the pathways responsible for it? Many approaches in philosophy and psychology run these questions together. Together, the answers to these questions can provide a taxonomy of different kinds of causal relationships. By keeping these questions separately, we are able to clarify both philosophical applications of causation, and psychological claims about causal learning.

Keywords:   causal learning, causal taxonomy, causal strength, causation, interventions, probabilistic causation, Hans Reichenbach, Patrick Suppes

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