Journal Article

Comment On Hausman & Woodward On The Causal Markov Condition

Daniel Steel

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 57, issue 1, pages 219-231
Published in print March 2006 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axi154
Comment On Hausman & Woodward On The Causal Markov Condition

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Hausman & Woodward present an argument for the Causal Markov Condition (CMC) on the basis of a principle they dub ‘modularity’ ([1999, 2004]). I show that the conclusion of their argument is not in fact the CMC but a substantially weaker proposition. In addition, I show that their argument is invalid and trace this invalidity to two features of modularity, namely, that it is stated in terms of pairwise independence and ‘arrow-breaking’ interventions. Hausman & Woodward's argument can be rendered valid through a reformulation of modularity, but it is doubtful that the argument so revised provides any substantially new insight regarding the basis of the CMC.

Introduction

The CMC versus Hausman & Woodward's conclusion

Hausman & Woodward's argument

Modularity and independent error terms

Conclusion

Appendix: D-separation

Journal Article.  5016 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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