Philosophy of Science 82 (4):529-555 (2015)

Authors
Brett Calcott
University of Sydney
Karola Stotz
Last affiliation: Macquarie University
Paul Edmund Griffiths
University of Sydney
Abstract
Several authors have argued that causes differ in the degree to which they are ‘specific’ to their effects. Woodward has used this idea to enrich his influential interventionist theory of causal explanation. Here we propose a way to measure causal specificity using tools from information theory. We show that the specificity of a causal variable is not well-defined without a probability distribution over the states of that variable. We demonstrate the tractability and interest of our proposed measure by measuring the specificity of coding DNA and other factors in a simple model of the production of mRNA.
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DOI 10.1086/682914
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References found in this work BETA

Causation as Influence.David K. Lewis - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):182-197.
Causes That Make a Difference.C. Kenneth Waters - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy 104 (11):551-579.
A Mathematical Theory of Communication.Claude E. Shannon - 1948 - Bell System Technical Journal 27:379–423.

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Citations of this work BETA

Facts, Conventions, and the Levels of Selection.Pierrick Bourrat - 2021 - Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Patterns, Information, and Causation.Holly Andersen - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (11):592-622.

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