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Normative commitments, causal structure, and policy disagreement

Statham, Georgie Statham (2018) Normative commitments, causal structure, and policy disagreement. [Preprint]

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Recently, there has been a large amount of support for the idea that causal claims can be sensitive to normative considerations. Previous work has focused on the concept of actual causation, defending the claim that whether or not some token event c is a cause of another token event e is influenced by both statistical and prescriptive norms. I focus on the policy debate surrounding alternative energies, and use the causal modelling framework to show that in this context, people's normative commitments don't just affect the causal claims they are willing to endorse, but also their understanding of the causal structure. In the context of the alternative energy debate, normative considerations affect our (implicit) understanding of the causal structure by influencing our judgements about which variables should be held �fixed,and therefore which variables should be relegated to the background of a causal model. In cases of extreme disagreement, normative commitments can also affect which causal structure we think should be instantiated. Thus, focusing on a new
context has revealed a previously unexplored sense in which normative factors are incorporated into causal reasoning.

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Item Type: Preprint
Statham, Georgie
Keywords: causation, causal modelling, public policy, alternative energy
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Dr Georgie Statham
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2018 01:10
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2018 01:10
Item ID: 14529
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 3 April 2018

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