Article

The Psychology of Causal Perception and Reasoning

David Danks

in The Oxford Handbook of Causation

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199279739
Published online January 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199279739.003.0022

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

The Psychology of Causal Perception and Reasoning

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Causal beliefs and reasoning are deeply embedded in many parts of our cognition. We are clearly ‘causal cognizers’, as we easily and automatically (try to) learn the causal structure of the world, use causal knowledge to make decisions and predictions, generate explanations using our beliefs about the causal structure of the world, and use causal knowledge in many other ways. Because causal cognition is so ubiquitous, psychological research into it is itself an enormous topic, and literally hundreds of people have devoted entire careers to the study of it. Causal cognition can be divided into two rough categories: causal learning and causal reasoning. The former encompasses the processes by which we learn about causal relations in the world at both the type and token levels; the latter refers to the ways in which we use those causal beliefs to make further inferences, decisions, predictions, and so on.

Keywords: causal beliefs; causal perception; causal cognizers; causal structure; causal knowledge; causal cognition

Article.  11060 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Science

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