Cognitive Science 42 (4):1265-1296 (2018)

Authors
Thomas Blanchard
University of Cologne
Abstract
We report three experiments investigating whether people’s judgments about causal relationships are sensitive to the robustness or stability of such relationships across a range of background circumstances. In Experiment 1, we demonstrate that people are more willing to endorse causal and explanatory claims based on stable (as opposed to unstable) relationships, even when the overall causal strength of the relationship is held constant. In Experiment 2, we show that this effect is not driven by a causal generalization’s actual scope of application. In Experiment 3, we offer evidence that stable causal relationships may be seen as better guides to action. Collectively, these experiments document a previously underappreciated factor that shapes people’s causal reasoning: the stability of the causal relationship.
Keywords Background conditions  Causality  Explanation  Invariance  Moderating variables  Robustness  Sensitivity  Stability
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DOI 10.1111/cogs.12605
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References found in this work BETA

Cause and Norm.Christopher Hitchcock & Joshua Knobe - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (11):587-612.
From Covariation to Causation: A Causal Power Theory.Patricia W. Cheng - 1997 - Psychological Review 104 (2):367-405.
The Problem of Variable Choice.James Woodward - 2016 - Synthese 193 (4):1047-1072.

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Citations of this work BETA

Stability, Breadth and Guidance.Thomas Blanchard, Nadya Vasilyeva & Tania Lombrozo - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (9):2263-2283.
General Solution to All Philosophical Problems With Some Exceptions.Wayde Beasley - forthcoming - north of parallel 40: Numerous uncommitted.

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