Critical notice: Causality by Judea Pearl

Economics and Philosophy 19 (2):321-340 (2003)
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Abstract

This is a wonderful book; indeed, it is easily one of the most important and creative books I have ever read on the subject of causation and causal inference. Causality is impressive on many levels and should be of great interest to many different audiences. Philosophers will find of particular interest Pearl's defense of what might be described as a broadly manipulationist or interventionist treatment of causation: Causal claims have to do with what would happen under ideal, suitably surgical experimental manipulations . But Pearl moves far beyond philosophical generalities on this theme: He makes the case for the approach that he favors by developing a formal apparatus for talking about interventions and how they relate to causation and information about probabilities that is at once both intuitively compelling and genuinely useful for purposes of calculation and estimation. He also actively engages the philosophical literature on causation at many points – for example, there are illuminating discussions of evidential decision theory, of probabilistic theories of causation of the sort favored by Eells and Cartwright, of Lewisian counterfactual theories of causation, and of the relationship between so-called type and token causal claims, as well as a quite novel treatment of the latter

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Citations of this work

Information, Cognition, and Objectivity.Nir Fresco - 2021 - American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (3):251-268.

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References found in this work

Causality.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science.Nancy Cartwright - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (1):244-247.
Causation as a Secondary Quality.Peter Menzies & Huw Price - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (2):187-203.

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