Computation and causation

In James Moor & Terrell Ward Bynum (eds.), Metaphilosophy. Blackwell Pub. 158-180 (2002)
In 1982, when computers were just becoming widely available, I was a graduate student beginning my work with Clark Glymour on a PhD thesis entitled: “Causality in the Social Sciences.” Dazed and confused by the vast philosophical literature on causation, I found relative solace in the clarity of Structural Equation Models (SEMs), a form of statistical model used commonly by practicing sociologists, political scientists, etc., to model causal hypotheses with which associations among measured variables might be explained. The statistical literature around SEMs was vast as well, but Clark had extracted from it a particular kind of evidential constraint first studied by Charles Spearman at the beginning of the 20th century, the “vanishing tetrad difference.”1 As it turned out, certain kinds of causal structures entailed these constraints, and others did not. Spearman used this lever to argue for the existence of a single, general intelligence factor, the infamous g (Spearman, 1904).
Keywords history of causation  causation  epistemology of causation  Bayes Networks
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DOI 10.1111/1467-9973.00223
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