Causal Modeling and the Efficacy of Action

In Michael Brent (ed.), Mental Action and the Conscious Mind. Routledge (forthcoming)
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Abstract
This paper brings together Thompson's naive action explanation with interventionist modeling of causal structure to show how they work together to produce causal models that go beyond current modeling capabilities, when applied to specifically selected systems. By deploying well-justified assumptions about rationalization, we can strengthen existing causal modeling techniques' inferential power in cases where we take ourselves to be modeling causal systems that also involve actions. The internal connection between means and end exhibited in naive action explanation has a modal strength like that of distinctively mathematical explanation, rather than that of causal explanation. Because it is stronger than causation, it can be treated as if it were merely causal in a causal model without thereby overextending the justification it can provide for inferences. This chapter introduces and demonstrate the usage of the Rationalization condition in causal modeling, where it is apt for the system(s) being modeled, and to provide the basics for incorporating R variables into systems of variables and R arrows into DAGs. Use of the Rationalization condition supplements causal analysis with action analysis where it is apt.
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Archival date: 2019-06-06
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