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Pearson’s Wrong Turning: Against Statistical Measures of Causal Efficacy

Northcott, Robert (2005) Pearson’s Wrong Turning: Against Statistical Measures of Causal Efficacy. Philosophy of Science, 72 (5). pp. 900-912.

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Abstract

Standard statistical measures of strength of association, although pioneered by Pearson deliberately to be acausal, nowadays are routinely used to measure causal efficacy. But their acausal origins have left them ill suited to this latter purpose. I distinguish between two different conceptions of causal efficacy, and argue that: (1) Both conceptions can be useful; (2) The statistical measures only attempt to capture the first of them; (3) They are not fully successful even at this; (4) An alternative definition based more squarely on causal thinking not only captures the second conception, but also can capture the first one better too.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Northcott, Robertr.northcott@bbk.ac.uk
Keywords: causation; Pearson; correlation; statistics
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Depositing User: Dr Robert Northcott
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2018 21:29
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2018 21:29
Item ID: 15411
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy of Science
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Date: December 2005
Page Range: pp. 900-912
Volume: 72
Number: 5
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15411

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