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Causal ModelsHow People Think about the World and Its Alternatives$
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Steven Sloman

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195183115

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195183115.001.0001

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 Causal Models

 Causal Models

(p.36) 4 Causal Models
Causal Models

Steven Sloman

Oxford University Press

According to human perception, the world is full of causal systems composed of autonomous mechanisms that generate events as effects of other events. This chapter attempts to make this idea more precise and therefore more clear by making it more formal. It introduces the causal model framework as an abstract language for representing causal systems. It discusses the three parts of a causal model: the causal system in the world (i.e., the system being represented); the probability distribution that describes how likely events are to happen and how likely they are to occur with other events — how certain we can be about each event and combination of events; and a graph that depicts the causal relations in the system.

Keywords:   human perception, autonomous mechanisms, causal system, probability distribution, causal relations

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