The logic of Simpson’s paradox

Synthese 181 (2):185-208 (2011)
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There are three distinct questions associated with Simpson’s paradox. Why or in what sense is Simpson’s paradox a paradox? What is the proper analysis of the paradox? How one should proceed when confronted with a typical case of the paradox? We propose a “formal” answer to the first two questions which, among other things, includes deductive proofs for important theorems regarding Simpson’s paradox. Our account contrasts sharply with Pearl’s causal account of the first two questions. We argue that the “how to proceed question?” does not have a unique response, and that it depends on the context of the problem. We evaluate an objection to our account by comparing ours with Blyth’s account of the paradox. Our research on the paradox suggests that the “how to proceed question” needs to be divorced from what makes Simpson’s paradox “paradoxical.”



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D. S. Nelson
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Citations of this work

Mereological Dominance and Simpson’s Paradox.Tung-Ying Wu - 2020 - Philosophia: Philosophical Quarterly of Israel 48 (1):391–404.

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