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The Causal Structure of Reality

Papineau, David (2021) The Causal Structure of Reality. [Preprint]

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This paper seeks to cast light on some of the more puzzling aspects of causation. My initial aim is to develop an analysis that will explain the “causal inference” techniques used by non-experimental scientists to infer causal structures from sets of correlations. Some have attempted to explain these techniques by reducing causal relationships directly to correlational ones. I show that the techniques are better explained by an analysis of causation in terms of structures of laws with probabilistically independent exogenous terms. This allows me to relate my analysis to quantum mechanical indeterminism and thereby to account for the temporal asymmetry of causation. I also show how this analysis can ground an understanding of single-case actual causation and counterfactual dependence.

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Item Type: Preprint
Keywords: Causation, casual inference, causal asymmetry, Bayesian networks, structural equations, exogenous independence
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Depositing User: David Papineau
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2021 18:27
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2021 18:27
Item ID: 19482
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Date: 23 August 2021

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