Synthese 182 (3):335-347 (2011)
AbstractWe clarify the status of the so-called causal minimality condition in the theory of causal Bayesian networks, which has received much attention in the recent literature on the epistemology of causation. In doing so, we argue that the condition is well motivated in the interventionist (or manipulability) account of causation, assuming the causal Markov condition which is essential to the semantics of causal Bayesian networks. Our argument has two parts. First, we show that the causal minimality condition, rather than an add-on methodological assumption of simplicity, necessarily follows from the substantive interventionist theses, provided that the actual probability distribution is strictly positive. Second, we demonstrate that the causal minimality condition can fail when the actual probability distribution is not positive, as is the case in the presence of deterministic relationships. But we argue that the interventionist account still entails a pragmatic justification of the causal minimality condition. Our argument in the second part exemplifies a general perspective that we think commendable: when evaluating methods for inferring causal structures and their underlying assumptions, it is relevant to consider how the inferred causal structure will be subsequently used for counterfactual reasoning
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
References found in this work
Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
Hunting Causes and Using Them: Approaches in Philosophy and Economics.Nancy Cartwright (ed.) - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):201-202.
Review: The Grand Leap; Reviewed Work: Causation, Prediction, and Search. [REVIEW]Peter Spirtes, Clark Glymour & Richard Scheines - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):113-123.
Citations of this work
Causal Exclusion and Causal Bayes Nets.Alexander Gebharter - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):353-375.
Causality as a Theoretical Concept: Explanatory Warrant and Empirical Content of the Theory of Causal Nets.Gerhard Schurz & Alexander Gebharter - 2016 - Synthese 193 (4):1073-1103.
Antireductionist Interventionism.Reuben Stern & Benjamin Eva - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
A Comparison of Three Occam’s Razors for Markovian Causal Models.Jiji Zhang - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (2):423-448.
Interactive Causes: Revising the Markov Condition.Gerhard Schurz - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):456-479.
Similar books and articles
Epr Robustness and the Causal Markov Condition.Mauricio Suárez & Iñaki San Pedro - 2007 - Centre of Philosophy of Natural and Social Science.
Against Modularity, the Causal Markov Condition, and Any Link Between the Two: Comments on Hausman and Woodward.Nancy Cartwright - 2002 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (3):411-453.
The Direction of Causation and the Direction of Conditionship.David H. Sanford - 1976 - Journal of Philosophy 73 (8):193-207.
Independence, Invariance and the Causal Markov Condition.Daniel M. Hausman & James Woodward - 1999 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (4):521-583.
Detection of Unfaithfulness and Robust Causal Inference.Jiji Zhang & Peter Spirtes - 2008 - Minds and Machines 18 (2):239-271.
The Principle of the Common Cause, the Causal Markov Condition, and Quantum Mechanics: Comments on Cartwright.Iain Martel - 2008 - In Luc Bovens, Carl Hoefer & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), Nancy Cartwright’s Philosophy of Science. Routledge. pp. 242-262.
From Metaphysics to Method: Comments on Manipulability and the Causal Markov Condition.Nancy Cartwright - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (1):197-218.
Is Determinism More Favorable Than Indeterminism for the Causal Markov Condition?Isabelle Drouet - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):662-675.
Modularity and the Causal Markov Condition: A Restatement.Daniel M. Hausman & James Woodward - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (1):147-161.