The causal chain problem

Erkenntnis 69 (2):201 - 226 (2008)
This paper addresses a problem that arises when it comes to inferring deterministic causal chains from pertinent empirical data. It will be shown that to every deterministic chain there exists an empirically equivalent common cause structure. Thus, our overall conviction that deterministic chains are one of the most ubiquitous (macroscopic) causal structures is underdetermined by empirical data. It will be argued that even though the chain and its associated common cause model are empirically equivalent there exists an important asymmetry between the two models with respect to model expansions. This asymmetry might constitute a basis on which to disambiguate corresponding causal inferences on non-empirical grounds.
Keywords Causation  Causal reasoning  Determinism  Causal chains
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References found in this work BETA
Michael Baumgartner (2009). Inferring Causal Complexity. Sociological Methods & Research 38:71-101.
Myles Brand (1980). Simultaneous Causation. In Peter van Inwagen (ed.), Time and Cause. D. Reidel 137-153.

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