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Science & Reason$
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Henry E. Kyburg

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780195062533

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195062533.001.0001

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Statistical Causality

Statistical Causality

Chapter:
(p.196) 12 Statistical Causality
Source:
Science & Reason
Author(s):

Jr. Henry E. Kyburg

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195062533.003.0012

An answer to the fact that it is very complex to find convincing grounds for considering in universal deterministic uniformity (much less universal causality) has been to suggest that causality is indeed universal: all events are caused—but many, if not all, causal laws are statistical or probabilistic in character. Thus, a law of causality does not spell out what will be the effect of a given cause in a particular case; it just provides a probability of a given effect when the cause is determined. This seems suitable not only in the rarified air of quantum mechanics, but particularly in the swampy territory of human activity: in epidemiology, psychology, economics, and the like. One way of interpreting statistical relationships as causal is through the law of large numbers.

Keywords:   statistical causality, causal laws, large numbers, economics, psychology, epidemiology, causality

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