When to expect violations of causal faithfulness and why it matters

Philosophy of Science (5):672-683 (2013)
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Abstract

I present three reasons why philosophers of science should be more concerned about violations of causal faithfulness (CF). In complex evolved systems, mechanisms for maintaining various equilibrium states are highly likely to violate CF. Even when such systems do not precisely violate CF, they may nevertheless generate precisely the same problems for inferring causal structure from probabilistic relationships in data as do genuine CF-violations. Thus, potential CF-violations are particularly germane to experimental science when we rely on probabilistic information to uncover the DAG, rather than already knowing the DAG from which we could predict the right experiments to ‘catch out’ the hidden causal relationships.

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Holly Andersen
Simon Fraser University

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