- Title Pages
- To my ultimate causes: Linda, Sabina, Leila
- 1 Agency and the Role of Causation in Mental Life
- 2 The Information Is in the Invariants
- 3 What Is a Cause?
- 4 Causal Models
- 5 Observation Versus Action
- II Evidence and Application
- 6 Reasoning About Causation
- 7 Decision Making via Causal Consequences
- 8 The Psychology of Judgment: Causality Is Pervasive
- 9 Causality and Conceptual Structure
- 10 Categorical Induction
- 11 Locating Causal Structure in Language
- 12 Causal Learning
- 13 Conclusion: Causation in the Mind
- 1. Agency and the Role of Causation in Mental Life
- 2. The Information Is in the Invariants
- 3. What Is a Cause?
- 4. Causal Models
- 5. Observation Versus Action
- 6. Reasoning About Causation
- 7. Decision Making via Causal Consequences
- 8. The Psychology of Judgment
- 9. Causality and Conceptual Structure
- 10. Categorical Induction
- 11. Locating Causal Structure in Language
- 12. Causal Learning
- 13. Conclusion: Causation in the Mind
What Is a Cause?
What Is a Cause?
- (p.21) 3 What Is a Cause?
- Causal Models
- Oxford University Press
This chapter discusses what causes are. It argues that causal relations are not the only kind of invariance useful for representing the world. There are various kinds of mathematical representations, as well as logical and probabilistic representations. But noncausal forms of invariance are less useful than causality for describing relations among events because they don't naturally describe the processes that generate those events and because, therefore, they fail to support key forms of counterfactual inference as directly as causal models do. In short, only causal models represent the invariance that tells us what the effects of our and others' actions would be. As a result, people seem to be particularly adept at representing and reasoning with causal structure.
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