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Re: Logic of Causation

Thanks Avi, some insightful comments there regarding the 4 causes.

I'm fascinated by causality because it's so ubiquitous in our thinking and yet seems to have been largely ignored by the "scientific" community as a subject worthy of serious study. Perhaps this is in part owing to David Hume's highly influential (but in my opinion, sophistical) writings on the subject.

This is particularly evident in statistics where we are told that "correlation is not causation", but it is never explained what causation actually IS. It's almost as though causality is a taboo subject; too "wooly" and metaphysical a concept for scientists, but ok for philosophers, perhaps.

However, things are beginning to change. I'm not sure whether you're aware of the work of Judea Pearl, an Israeli-American computer scientist who has developed a theory of causal and counterfactual inference, and for this and related work in Artificial Intelligence, received the Turing Award in 2011. He has recently published "The Book of Why : The New Science of Cause and Effect", which was written for a lay audience. Details here : (click on the "WHY" link at the top of the page, under the title). By the way, don't be put off by the fact that the theory is a mathematical one. The math is quite simple and most of the work is done by diagrams. The logic is much more important than the mere symbols.

I haven't yet read the book (it's on the way), and I'm not sure how much of his work parallels your "Logic of Causation", but I thought you might be interested in it.

Re: Logic of Causation

Thanks for the info. Sounds interesting. Will look into it.

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