Venetian sea levels, british bread prices, and the principle of the common cause

Abstract
When two causally independent processes each have a quantity that increases monotonically (either deterministically or in probabilistic expectation), the two quantities will be correlated, thus providing a counterexample to Reichenbach's principle of the common cause. Several philosophers have denied this, but I argue that their efforts to save the principle are unsuccessful. Still, one salvage attempt does suggest a weaker principle that avoids the initial counterexample. However, even this weakened principle is mistaken, as can be seen by exploring the concepts of homology and homoplasy used in evolutionary biology. I argue that the kernel of truth in the principle of the common cause is to be found by separating metaphysical and epistemological issues; as far as the epistemology is concerned, the Likelihood Principle is central.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 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: 9,357
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA
    Luke Glynn (2011). A Probabilistic Analysis of Causation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (2):343-392.
    Mathias Frisch (2012). No Place for Causes? Causal Skepticism in Physics. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3):313-336.
    Similar books and articles
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2009-01-28

    Total downloads

    16 ( #85,936 of 1,088,427 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    3 ( #30,936 of 1,088,427 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


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