Reichenbachian common cause systems revisited

Mazzola, Claudio (2012) Reichenbachian common cause systems revisited. Foundations of Physics, 42 4: 512-523. doi:10.1007/s10701-011-9622-8

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Author Mazzola, Claudio
Title Reichenbachian common cause systems revisited
Journal name Foundations of Physics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0015-9018
1572-9516
Publication date 2012-04
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1007/s10701-011-9622-8
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 42
Issue 4
Start page 512
End page 523
Total pages 12
Place of publication New York, United States
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Abstract According to Reichenbach’s principle of common cause, positive statistical correlations for which no straightforward causal explanation is available should be explained by invoking the action of a hidden conjunctive common cause. Hofer-Szabó and Rédei’s notion of a Reichenbachian common cause system is meant to generalize Reichenbach’s conjunctive fork model to fit those cases in which two or more common causes cooperate in order to produce a positive statistical correlation. Such a generalization is proved to be unsatisfactory in the light of a probabilistic conception of causation. Accordingly, an alternative model for systems of multiple common causes is offered, which is capable of emulating the explanatory efficacy of Reichenbachian common cause systems, while overcoming their major conceptual shortcomings at the same time.
Keyword Common causes
Conjunctive forks
Positive correlations
Screening-off
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collection: School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
 
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Created: Mon, 19 May 2014, 13:32:27 EST by Claudio Mazzola on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry