Journal Article

From Metaphysics to Method: Comments on Manipulability and the Causal Markov Condition

Nancy Cartwright

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 197-218
Published in print March 2006 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online March 2006 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axi156
From Metaphysics to Method: Comments on Manipulability and the Causal Markov Condition

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Daniel Hausman and James Woodward claim to prove that the causal Markov condition, so important to Bayes-nets methods for causal inference, is the ‘flip side’ of an important metaphysical fact about causation—that causes can be used to manipulate their effects. This paper disagrees. First, the premise of their proof does not demand that causes can be used to manipulate their effects but rather that if a relation passes a certain specific kind of test, it is causal. Second, the proof is invalid. Third, the kind of testability they require can easily be had without the causal Markov condition.

Introduction

Earlier views: manipulability v testability

Increasingly weaker theses

The proof is invalid

MOD* is implausible

Two alternative claims and their defects

A true claim and a valid argument

Indeterminism

Overall conclusion

Journal Article.  9181 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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