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

Philosophy of Science 72 (5):900-912 (2005)
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 more squarely based on causal thinking not only captures the second conception, it can also capture the first one better too.
Keywords causation  statistics
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DOI 10.1086/508118
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PhilPapers Archive Robert Northcott, Pearson's Wrong Turning: Against Statistical Measures of Causal Efficacy
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