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Causal Agnosticism about Race

Tolbert, Alexander (2023) Causal Agnosticism about Race. [Preprint]

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Abstract

This paper introduces the concept of causal race agnosticism and attempts to provide a detailed examination of the challenges in determining whether race causes specific outcomes. The argument is anchored in two premises: (1) when a causal hypothesis is confounded by numerous unmeasured variables, withholding judgment on the causal relationship may be warranted, and (2) the hypothesis that socially constructed race causes a particular outcome is confounded by many unmeasured variables. The paper explores the challenges posed by violations of two key assumptions in causal inference: positivity and the Stable Unit Treatment Value Assumption (SUTVA). These violations can lead to confounding, complicating causal claims about race. The argument for causal agnosticism highlights the critical importance of addressing confounding and stability of causal relationships in variable selection, which are central to the decision-making process in causal inference research.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
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Tolbert, Alexander
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Depositing User: Dr Alexander Tolbert
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2023 13:32
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2023 13:32
Item ID: 22375
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Date: 2023
URI: https://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/22375

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