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On the unity between observational and experimental causal discovery

Zhang, Jiji (2022) On the unity between observational and experimental causal discovery. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 37 (1). pp. 63-74. ISSN 0495-4548

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Abstract

In “Flagpoles anyone? Causal and explanatory asymmetries”, James Woodward supplements his celebrated interventionist account of causation and explanation with a set of new ideas about causal and explanatory asymmetries, which he extracts from some cutting-edge methods for causal discovery from observational data. Among other things, Woodward draws interesting connections between observational causal discovery and interventionist themes that are inspired in the first place by experimental causal discovery, alluding to a sort of unity between observational and experimental causal discovery. In this paper, I make explicit what I take to be the implicated unity. Like experimental causal discovery, observational causal discovery also relies on interventions (or exogenous variations, to be more accurate), albeit interventions that are not carried out by investigators and hence need to be detected as part of the inference. The observational patterns appealed to in observational causal discovery are not only surrogates for would-be interventions, as Woodward sometimes puts it; they also serve to mark relevant interventions that actually happen in the data generating process.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Zhang, Jijizhangjiji@hkbu.edu.hk
Additional Information: ISSN: 0495-4548 (print)
Keywords: Causal Discovery, Epistemology of Causation, Interventionism, Invariance
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email theoria@ehu.es
Date Deposited: 15 May 2022 03:51
Last Modified: 15 May 2022 03:51
Item ID: 20608
Journal or Publication Title: THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science
Publisher: Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
Official URL: https://ojs.ehu.eus/index.php/THEORIA/article/view...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1387/theoria.22691
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Date: 2022
Page Range: pp. 63-74
Volume: 37
Number: 1
ISSN: 0495-4548
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20608

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