Causation and Statistical Inference

Clark Glymour

in The Oxford Handbook of Causation

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199279739
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191577246 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Causation and Statistical Inference

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of Science


Show Summary Details


In the applied statistical literature, causal relations are often described equivocally or euphemistically as ‘risk factors’, or as part of ‘dimension reduction’. The statistical literature also tends to speak of ‘statistical models’ rather than of causal explanations, and to say that parameters of a model are ‘interpretable’, often means that the parameters make sense as measures of causal influence. These ellipses are due in part to the use of statistical formalisms for which a causal interpretation is wanted but unavailable or unfamiliar, and in part to a philosophical distrust of attributions of causation outside experimental contexts, misgivings traceable to the disciplinary institutionalization of claims of influential statisticians, notably Karl Pearson and Ronald Fisher. More candid treatments of causal relations have recently emerged in the theoretical statistical literature.

Keywords: causal relations; dimension reduction; risk factors; statistical models; causal influence; institutionalization

Article.  9866 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Science

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.