Identifying intervention variables

European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (2):183-205 (2013)
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The essential precondition of implementing interventionist techniques of causal reasoning is that particular variables are identified as so-called intervention variables. While the pertinent literature standardly brackets the question how this can be accomplished in concrete contexts of causal discovery, the first part of this paper shows that the interventionist nature of variables cannot, in principle, be established based only on an interventionist notion of causation. The second part then demonstrates that standard observational methods that draw on Bayesian networks identify intervention variables only if they also answer the questions that can be answered by interventionist techniques—which are thus rendered dispensable. The paper concludes by suggesting a way of identifying intervention variables that allows for exploiting the whole inferential potential of interventionist techniques



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Author Profiles

Isabelle Drouet
Université Paris-Sorbonne
Michael Baumgartner
Bergen University

References found in this work

Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science.Nancy Cartwright - 1999 - New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Causality.Judea Pearl - 2000 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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