Correlation, partial correlation, and causation

Synthese 67 (2):157-173 (1986)
Philosophers and scientists have maintained that causation, correlation, and partial correlation are essentially related. These views give rise to various rules of causal inference. This essay considers the claims of several philosophers and social scientists for causal systems with dichotomous variables. In section 2 important commonalities and differences are explicated among four major conceptions of correlation. In section 3 it is argued that whether correlation can serve as a measure of A's causal influence on B depends upon the conception of causation being used and upon certain background assumptions. In section 4 five major kinds of partial correlation are explicated, and some of the important relations are established among two conceptions of partial correlation, the conception of screening off, the conception of partitioning, and the measures of causal influence which have been suggested by advocates of path analysis or structural equation methods. In section 5 it is argued that whether any of these five conceptions of partial correlation can serve as a measure of causal influence depends upon the conception of causation being used and upon certain background assumptions.The important conclusion is that each of the approaches (considered here) to causal inference for causal systems with dichotomous variables stands in need of important qualifications and revisions if they are to be justified.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF00540066
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,904
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

24 ( #122,592 of 1,725,424 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #211,008 of 1,725,424 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.