Causality

Causality

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Causality'
Start a new discussion about 'Causality'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia


Causality is the relationship between an event
Event (philosophy)
In philosophy, events are objects in time or instantiations of properties in objects. However, a definite definition has not been reached, as multiple theories exist concerning events.-Kim’s Property-Exemplification Account of Events:...

 (the cause) and a second event (the effect
Result
A result is the final consequence of a sequence of actions or events expressed qualitatively or quantitatively. Possible results include advantage, disadvantage, gain, injury, loss, value and victory. There may be a range of possible outcomes associated with an event depending on the point of...

), where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first.

In common usage Causality is also the relationship between a set of factors (causes) and a phenomenon (the effect
Result
A result is the final consequence of a sequence of actions or events expressed qualitatively or quantitatively. Possible results include advantage, disadvantage, gain, injury, loss, value and victory. There may be a range of possible outcomes associated with an event depending on the point of...

). Anything that affects an effect is a factor of that effect. A direct factor is a factor that affects an effect directly, that is, without any intervening factors. (Intervening factors are sometimes called "intermediate factors.") The connection between a cause(s) and effect in this way can also be referred to as a causal nexus.

Though the causes and effects are typically related to changes or events, candidates include objects
Object (philosophy)
An object in philosophy is a technical term often used in contrast to the term subject. Consciousness is a state of cognition that includes the subject, which can never be doubted as only it can be the one who doubts, and some object or objects that may or may not have real existence without...

, processes
Process (science)
In science, a process is every sequence of changes of a real object/body which is observable using the scientific method. Therefore, all sciences analyze and model processes....

, properties
Property (philosophy)
In modern philosophy, logic, and mathematics a property is an attribute of an object; a red object is said to have the property of redness. The property may be considered a form of object in its own right, able to possess other properties. A property however differs from individual objects in that...

, variables, fact
Fact
A fact is something that has really occurred or is actually the case. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability, that is whether it can be shown to correspond to experience. Standard reference works are often used to check facts...

s, and states of affairs
State of affairs
The state of affairs is that combination of circumstances applying within a society or group at a particular time. The current state of affairs may be considered acceptable by many observers, but not necessarily by all. The state of affairs may present a challenge, or be complicated, or contain a...

; characterizing the causal relationship can be the subject of much debate.

The philosophical
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 treatment of causality extends over millennia. In the Western philosophical tradition, discussion stretches back at least to Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, and the topic remains a staple in contemporary philosophy.

Aristotle


Aristotle distinguished between four causes, or four explanations, that each answer the question "why?" in different ways. These various means of explanation can be divided into four general types as follows:
  • The material cause is the physical matter
    Matter
    Matter is a general term for the substance of which all physical objects consist. Typically, matter includes atoms and other particles which have mass. A common way of defining matter is as anything that has mass and occupies volume...

    , the mass of "raw material" of which something is "made" (of which it consists).
  • The formal cause tells us what, by analogy to the plans of an artisan, a thing is intended and planned to be.
  • The efficient cause is that external entity from which the change or the ending of the change first starts.
  • The final cause is that for the sake of which a thing exists, or is done - including both purposeful and instrumental actions. The final cause, or telos
    Telos
    -Companies:* Telos , a defense contractor and software business in Ashburn, Virginia* Telos Systems, a manufacturer of equipment for broadcasting stations...

    , is the purpose, or end, that something is supposed to serve.


Additionally, things can be causes of one another, reciprocally causing each other, as hard work causes fitness, and vice versa - although not in the same way or by means of the same function: the one is as the beginning of change, the other is as its goal. (Thus Aristotle first suggested a reciprocal or circular causality - as a relation of mutual dependence, action, or influence of cause and effect.) Also; Aristotle indicated that the same thing can be the cause of contrary effects - as its presence and absence may result in different outcomes. In speaking thus he formulated what currently is ordinarily termed a "causal factor," e.g., atmospheric pressure as it affects chemical or physical reactions.

Aristotle marked two modes of causation: proper (prior) causation and accidental (chance) causation. All causes, proper and accidental, can be spoken as potential or as actual, particular or generic. The same language refers to the effects of causes; so that generic effects assigned to generic causes, particular effects to particular causes, and operating causes to actual effects. It is also essential that ontological causality does not suggest the temporal relation of before and after - between the cause and the effect; that spontaneity (in nature) and chance (in the sphere of moral actions) are among the causes of effects belonging to the efficient causation, and that no incidental, spontaneous, or chance cause can be prior to a proper, real, or underlying cause per se.

All investigations of causality coming later in history will consist in imposing a favorite hierarchy on the order (priority) of causes; such as "final > efficient > material > formal" (Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

), or in restricting all causality to the material and efficient causes or, to the efficient causality (deterministic or chance), or just to regular sequences and correlations of natural phenomena (the natural sciences describing how things happen rather than asking why they happen).

After the Middle Ages


With the end of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 however, Aristotle's approach, especially concerning formal and final causes, was criticized by authors such as Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian historian, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He is one of the main founders of modern political science. He was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic...

, in the field of political thinking, and Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England...

, concerning science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 more generally. A widely used modern definition of causality was originally given by David Hume
David Hume
David Hume was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment...

. He denied that we can ever perceive cause and effect, except by developing a habit or custom of mind where we come to associate two types of object or event, always contiguous and occurring one after the other. In Part III, section XV, Hume expanded this to a list of eight ways of judging whether two things might be cause and effect. The first three:
1. "The cause and effect must be contiguous in space and time."
2. "The cause must be prior to the effect."
3. "There must be a constant union betwixt the cause and effect. 'Tis chiefly this quality, that constitutes the relation."

And then additionally there are three connected criteria which come from our experience and which are "the source of most of our philosophical reasonings":
4. "The same cause always produces the same effect, and the same effect never arises but from the same cause. This principle we derive from experience, and is the source of most of our philosophical reasonings."
5. Hanging upon the above, Hume says that "where several different objects produce the same effect, it must be by means of some quality, which we discover to be common amongst them."
6. And "founded on the same reason": "The difference in the effects of two resembling objects must proceed from that particular, in which they differ."

And then two more:
7. "When any object encreases or diminishes with the encrease or diminution of its cause, 'tis to be regarded as a compounded effect, deriv'd from the union of the several different effects, which arise from the several different parts of the cause."
8. An "object, which exists for any time in its full perfection without any effect, is not the sole cause of that effect, but requires to be assisted by some other principle, which may forward its influence and operation."


However, according to Sowa (2000), citing Max Born
Max Born
Max Born was a German-born physicist and mathematician who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics. He also made contributions to solid-state physics and optics and supervised the work of a number of notable physicists in the 1920s and 30s...

 in 1949, "relativity and quantum mechanics have forced physicists to abandon these assumptions as exact statements of what happens at the most fundamental levels, but they remain valid at the level of human experience."

Causality, determinism, and existentialism


The deterministic
Determinism
Determinism is the general philosophical thesis that states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could happen. There are many versions of this thesis. Each of them rests upon various alleged connections, and interdependencies of things and...

 world-view is one in which the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 is no more than a chain of events
Chain of events
A chain of events is a number of actions and their effects that are contiguous and linked together.-Chain reaction:A chain reaction is a chain of events where one or more events in the chain causes additional reaction in an earlier stage of the chain...

 following one after another according to the law of cause and effect. To hold this worldview
World view
A comprehensive world view is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the entirety of the individual or society's knowledge and point-of-view, including natural philosophy; fundamental, existential, and normative postulates; or themes, values, emotions, and...

, as an incompatibilist
Incompatibilism
Incompatibilism is the view that a deterministic universe is completely at odds with the notion that people have a free will. Strictly speaking, there is a dichotomy between determinism and free will where philosophers must choose one or the other...

, there is no such thing as "free will
Free will
"To make my own decisions whether I am successful or not due to uncontrollable forces" -Troy MorrisonA pragmatic definition of free willFree will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long...

". However, compatibilists
Compatibilism
Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are compatible ideas, and that it is possible to believe both without being logically inconsistent. It may, however, be more accurate to say that compatibilists define 'free will' in a way that allows it to co-exist with determinism...

 argue that determinism is compatible with, or even necessary for, free will.

Existentialists have suggested that people believe that while no meaning has been designed in the universe, we each can provide a meaning for ourselves.

Though philosophers have pointed out the difficulties in establishing theories of the validity of causal relations, there is yet the plausible example of causation afforded daily which is our own ability to be the cause of events. This concept of causation does not prevent seeing ourselves as moral
Moral
A moral is a message conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a story or event. The moral may be left to the hearer, reader or viewer to determine for themselves, or may be explicitly encapsulated in a maxim...

 agents.

Indian philosophy


Karma is the belief held by some major religions that a person's actions cause certain effects in the current life and/or in future life
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

, positively or negatively. The various philosophical schools (darsanas) provide different accounts of the subject. The doctrine of satkaryavada affirms that the effect inheres in the cause in some way. The effect is thus either a real or apparent modification of the cause. The doctrine of asatkaryavada affirms that the effect does not inhere in the cause, but is a new arising. See Nyaya
Nyaya
' is the name given to one of the six orthodox or astika schools of Hindu philosophy—specifically the school of logic...

 for some details of the theory of causation in the Nyaya school.

Necessary and sufficient causes

A similar concept occurs in logic, for this see Necessary and sufficient conditions
Necessary and sufficient conditions
In logic, the words necessity and sufficiency refer to the implicational relationships between statements. The assertion that one statement is a necessary and sufficient condition of another means that the former statement is true if and only if the latter is true.-Definitions:A necessary condition...



Causes are often distinguished into two types: Necessary and sufficient. A third type of causation, which requires neither necessity nor sufficiency in and of itself, but which contributes to the effect, is called a "contributory cause."

Necessary causes:

If x is a necessary cause of y, then the presence of y necessarily implies the presence of x. The presence of x, however, does not imply that y will occur.

Sufficient causes:

If x is a sufficient cause of y, then the presence of x necessarily implies the presence of y. However, another cause z may alternatively cause y. Thus the presence of y does not imply the presence of x.

Contributory causes:

A cause may be classified as a "contributory cause," if the presumed cause precedes the effect, and altering the cause alters the effect. It does not require that all those subjects which possess the contributory cause experience the effect. It does not require that all those subjects which are free of the contributory cause be free of the effect. In other words, a contributory cause may be neither necessary nor sufficient but it must be contributory.

J. L. Mackie
J. L. Mackie
John Leslie Mackie was an Australian philosopher, originally from Sydney. He made significant contributions to the philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and the philosophy of language, and is perhaps best known for his views on meta-ethics, especially his defence of moral skepticism.He authored six...

 argues that usual talk of "cause," in fact refers to INUS conditions (insufficient but non-redundant parts of a condition which is itself unnecessary but sufficient for the occurrence of the effect). For example, a short circuit as a cause for a house burning down. Consider the collection of events: the short circuit, the proximity of flammable material, and the absence of firefighters. Together these are unnecessary but sufficient to the house's burning down (since many other collections of events certainly could have led to the house burning down, for example shooting the house with a flamethrower in the presence of oxygen etc. etc.). Within this collection, the short circuit is an insufficient (since the short circuit by itself would not have caused the fire, but the fire would not have happened without it, everything else being equal) but non-redundant part of a condition which is itself unnecessary (since something else could have also caused the house to burn down) but sufficient for the occurrence of the effect . So, the short circuit is an INUS condition for the occurrence of the house burning down.

Causality contrasted with conditionals


Conditional
Indicative conditional
In natural languages, an indicative conditional is the logical operation given by statements of the form "If A then B". Unlike the material conditional, an indicative conditional does not have a stipulated definition...

 statements are not statements of causality. An important distinction is that statements of causality require the antecedent to precede or coincide with the consequent in time, whereas conditional statements do not require this temporal order. Confusion commonly arises since many different statements in English may be presented using "If ..., then ..." form (and, arguably, because this form is far more commonly used to make a statement of causality). The two types of statements are distinct, however.

For example, all of the following statements are true when interpreting "If ..., then ..." as the material conditional:
  1. If Barack Obama is president of the United States in 2011, then Germany is in Europe.
  2. If George Washington is president of the United States in 2011, then .


The first is true since both the antecedent
Antecedent (logic)
An antecedent is the first half of a hypothetical proposition.Examples:* If P, then Q.This is a nonlogical formulation of a hypothetical proposition...

 and the consequent
Consequent
A consequent is the second half of a hypothetical proposition. In the standard form of such a proposition, it is the part that follows "then".Examples:* If P, then Q.Q is the consequent of this hypothetical proposition....

 are true. The second is true in sentential logic and indeterminate in natural language, regardless of the consequent statement that follows, because the antecedent is false.

The ordinary indicative conditional
Indicative conditional
In natural languages, an indicative conditional is the logical operation given by statements of the form "If A then B". Unlike the material conditional, an indicative conditional does not have a stipulated definition...

 has somewhat more structure than the material conditional. For instance, although the first is the closest, neither of the preceding two statements seems true as an ordinary indicative reading. But the sentence
  • If Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon did not write Macbeth, then someone else did.

intuitively seems to be true, even though there is no straightforward causal relation in this hypothetical situation between Shakespeare's not writing Macbeth and someone else's actually writing it.

Another sort of conditional, the counterfactual conditional
Counterfactual conditional
A counterfactual conditional, subjunctive conditional, or remote conditional, abbreviated , is a conditional statement indicating what would be the case if its antecedent were true...

, has a stronger connection with causality, yet even counterfactual statements are not all examples of causality. Consider the following two statements:
  1. If A were a triangle, then A would have three sides.
  2. If switch S were thrown, then bulb B would light.


In the first case, it would not be correct to say that A's being a triangle caused it to have three sides, since the relationship between triangularity and three-sidedness is that of definition. The property of having three sides actually determines A's state as a triangle. Nonetheless, even when interpreted counterfactually, the first statement is true.

A full grasp of the concept of conditionals is important to understanding the literature on causality. A crucial stumbling block is that conditionals in everyday English are usually loosely used to describe a general situation. For example, "If I drop my coffee, then my shoe gets wet" relates an infinite number of possible events. It is shorthand for "For any fact that would count as 'dropping my coffee', some fact that counts as 'my shoe gets wet' will be true". This general statement will be strictly false if there is any circumstance where I drop my coffee and my shoe doesn't get wet. However, an "If..., then..." statement in logic typically relates two specific events or facts—a specific coffee-dropping did or did not occur, and a specific shoe-wetting did or did not follow. Thus, with explicit events in mind, if I drop my coffee and wet my shoe, then it is true that "If I dropped my coffee, then I wet my shoe", regardless of the fact that yesterday I dropped a coffee in the trash for the opposite effect—the conditional relates to specific facts. More counterintuitively, if I didn't drop my coffee at all, then it is also true that "If I drop my coffee then I wet my shoe", or "Dropping my coffee implies I wet my shoe", regardless of whether I wet my shoe or not by any means. This usage would not be counterintuitive if it were not for the everyday usage. Briefly, "If X then Y" is equivalent to the first-order logic statement "A implies B" or "not A-and-not-B", where A and B are predicates, but the more familiar usage of an "if A then B" statement would need to be written symbolically using a higher order logic using quantifiers ("for all" and "there exists").

Questionable Cause


Fallacies of questionable cause, also known as causal fallacies, non causa pro causa ("non-cause for cause" in Latin) or false cause, are informal fallacies where a cause is incorrectly identified.

Counterfactual theories


A counterfactual conditional, subjunctive conditional, or remote conditional, abbreviated cf, is a conditional (or "if-then") statement indicating what would be the case if its antecedent were true. This is to be contrasted with an indicative conditional, which indicates what is (in fact) the case if its antecedent is (in fact) true.

Psychological research shows that people's thoughts about the causal relationships between events influences their judgments of the plausibility of counterfactual alternatives, and conversely, their counterfactual thinking
Counterfactual thinking
Counterfactual thinking is a term of psychology that describes the tendency people have to imagine alternatives to reality. Humans are predisposed to think about how things could have turned out differently if only..., and also to imagine what if?....

 about how a situation could have turned out differently changes their judgements of the causal role of events and agents. Nonetheless, their identification of the cause of an event, and their counterfactual thought about how the event could have turned out differently do not always coincide. People distinguish between various sorts of causes, e.g., strong and weak causes. Research in the psychology of reasoning
Psychology of reasoning
The psychology of reasoning is the study of how people reason, often broadly defined as the process of drawing conclusions to inform how people solve problems and make decisions...

 shows that people make different sorts of inferences from different sorts of causes.

Probabilistic causation



Interpreting causation as a deterministic
Determinism
Determinism is the general philosophical thesis that states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could happen. There are many versions of this thesis. Each of them rests upon various alleged connections, and interdependencies of things and...

 relation means that if A causes B, then A must always be followed by B. In this sense, war does not cause deaths, nor does smoking
Tobacco smoking
Tobacco smoking is the practice where tobacco is burned and the resulting smoke is inhaled. The practice may have begun as early as 5000–3000 BCE. Tobacco was introduced to Eurasia in the late 16th century where it followed common trade routes...

 cause cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

. As a result, many turn to a notion of probabilistic causation. Informally, A probabilistically causes B if As occurrence increases the probability of B. This is sometimes interpreted to reflect imperfect knowledge of a deterministic system but other times interpreted to mean that the causal system under study is inherently probabilistic, such as quantum mechanics.

Causal Calculus


When experiments are infeasible or illegal, the derivation of cause effect relationship from observational studies must rest on some qualitative theoretical assumptions, for
example, that symptoms do not cause diseases, usually
expressed in the form of missing arrows in causal graphs such as Bayesian Networks or path diagrams. The mathematical theory underlying these derivations relies on the distinction between conditional probabilities, as in , and interventional probabilities, as in . The former reads:
"the probability of finding cancer in a person known to smoke"
while the latter reads: "the probability of finding cancer in
a person forced to smoke". The former is a statistical
notion that can be estimated directly in observational studies, while the latter is a causal notion (also called "causal effect") which is what we estimate in a controlled randomized experiment.

The theory of "causal calculus" permits one to infer interventional probabilities from conditional probabilities in causal Bayesian Networks with unmeasured variables. One very practical result of this theory is the characterization of confounding variables, namely, a sufficient set of variables that, if adjusted for, would yield the correct causal effect between variables of interest. It can be shown that a sufficient set for estimating the causal effect of on is any set of non-descendants of that -separate from after removing all arrows emanating from . This criterion, called "backdoor", provides a mathematical definition of "confounding" and helps researchers identify accessible sets of variables worthy of measurement.

Structure Learning


While derivations in Causal Calculus rely on the
structure of the causal graph, parts of the causal structure can, under certain assumptions, be learned from statistical data. The basic idea goes back to a recovery algorithm
developed by Rebane and Pearl (1987) and rests
on the distinction between the three possible types of
causal substructures allowed in a directed acyclic graph
Directed acyclic graph
In mathematics and computer science, a directed acyclic graph , is a directed graph with no directed cycles. That is, it is formed by a collection of vertices and directed edges, each edge connecting one vertex to another, such that there is no way to start at some vertex v and follow a sequence of...

 (DAG):





Type 1 and type 2 represent the same statistical dependencies (i.e., and are independent given ) and are, therefore, indistinguishable. Type 3, however, can be uniquely identified, since and are marginally independent and all other pairs are dependent. Thus, while the skeletons (the graphs stripped of arrows) of these three triplets are identical, the directionality
of the arrows is partially identifiable. The same distinction applies when and have common ancestors, except that one
must first condition on those ancestors. Algorithms have been developed to systematically determine the skeleton of the underlying graph and, then, orient all arrows whose directionality is dictated by the conditional independencies observed.

Alternative methods of structure learning search through the many possible causal structures among the variables, and remove ones which are strongly incompatible with the observed correlation
Correlation
In statistics, dependence refers to any statistical relationship between two random variables or two sets of data. Correlation refers to any of a broad class of statistical relationships involving dependence....

s. In general this leaves a set of possible causal relations, which should then be tested by designing appropriate experiment
Experiment
An experiment is a methodical procedure carried out with the goal of verifying, falsifying, or establishing the validity of a hypothesis. Experiments vary greatly in their goal and scale, but always rely on repeatable procedure and logical analysis of the results...

s. If experimental data is already available, the algorithm
Algorithm
In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm is an effective method expressed as a finite list of well-defined instructions for calculating a function. Algorithms are used for calculation, data processing, and automated reasoning...

s can take advantage of that as well. In contrast with Bayesian Networks, path analysis and its generalization, structural equation modeling, serve better to estimate a known causal effect or test a causal model than to generate causal hypotheses.

For nonexperimental data, causal direction can be hinted if information about time is available. This is because (according to many, though not all, theories) causes must precede their effects temporally. This can be set up by simple linear regression
Simple linear regression
In statistics, simple linear regression is the least squares estimator of a linear regression model with a single explanatory variable. In other words, simple linear regression fits a straight line through the set of n points in such a way that makes the sum of squared residuals of the model as...

 models, for instance, with an analysis of covariance in which baseline and follow up values are known for a theorized cause and effect. The addition of time as a variable, though not proving causality, is a big help in supporting a pre-existing theory of causal direction. For instance, our degree of confidence in the direction and nature of causality is much greater when supported by data from a longitudinal study
Longitudinal study
A longitudinal study is a correlational research study that involves repeated observations of the same variables over long periods of time — often many decades. It is a type of observational study. Longitudinal studies are often used in psychology to study developmental trends across the...

 than by data from a cross-sectional study
Cross-sectional study
Cross-sectional studies form a class of research methods that involve observation of all of a population, or a representative subset, at one specific point in time...

.

Derivation theories


The Nobel Prize holder Herbert Simon
Herbert Simon
Herbert Alexander Simon was an American political scientist, economist, sociologist, and psychologist, and professor—most notably at Carnegie Mellon University—whose research ranged across the fields of cognitive psychology, cognitive science, computer science, public administration, economics,...

 and Philosopher Nicholas Rescher
Nicholas Rescher
Nicholas Rescher is an American philosopher at the University of Pittsburgh. In a productive research career extending over six decades, Rescher has established himself as a systematic philosopher of the old style and author of a system of pragmatic idealism which weaves together threads of...

 claim that the asymmetry of the causal relation is unrelated to the asymmetry of any mode of implication that contraposes. Rather, a causal relation is not a relation between values of variables, but a function of one variable (the cause) on to another (the effect). So, given a system of equations, and a set of variables appearing in these equations, we can introduce an asymmetric relation among individual equations and variables that corresponds perfectly to our commonsense notion of a causal ordering. The system of equations must have certain properties, most importantly, if some values are chosen arbitrarily, the remaining values will be determined uniquely through a path of serial discovery that is perfectly causal. They postulate the inherent serialization of such a system of equations may correctly capture causation in all empirical fields, including physics and economics.

Manipulation theories


Some theorists have equated causality with manipulability. Under these theories, x causes y only in the case that one can change x in order to change y. This coincides with commonsense notions of causations, since often we ask causal questions in order to change some feature of the world. For instance, we are interested in knowing the causes of crime so that we might find ways of reducing it.

These theories have been criticized on two primary grounds. First, theorists complain that these accounts are circular
Begging the question
Begging the question is a type of logical fallacy in which the proposition to be proven is assumed implicitly or explicitly in the premise....

. Attempting to reduce causal claims to manipulation requires that manipulation is more basic than causal interaction. But describing manipulations in non-causal terms has provided a substantial difficulty.

The second criticism centers around concerns of anthropocentrism
Anthropocentrism
Anthropocentrism describes the tendency for human beings to regard themselves as the central and most significant entities in the universe, or the assessment of reality through an exclusively human perspective....

. It seems to many people that causality is some existing relationship in the world that we can harness for our desires. If causality is identified with our manipulation, then this intuition is lost. In this sense, it makes humans overly central to interactions in the world.

Some attempts to save manipulability theories are recent accounts that don't claim to reduce causality to manipulation. These accounts use manipulation as a sign or feature in causation without claiming that manipulation is more fundamental than causation.

Process theories


Some theorists are interested in distinguishing between causal processes and non-causal processes (Russell 1948; Salmon 1984). These theorists often want to distinguish between a process and a pseudo-process. As an example, a ball moving through the air (a process) is contrasted with the motion of a shadow (a pseudo-process). The former is causal in nature while the latter is not.

Salmon (1984) claims that causal processes can be identified by their ability to transmit an alteration over space and time. An alteration of the ball (a mark by a pen, perhaps) is carried with it as the ball goes through the air. On the other hand an alteration of the shadow (insofar as it is possible) will not be transmitted by the shadow as it moves along.

These theorists claim that the important concept for understanding causality is not causal relationships or causal interactions, but rather identifying causal processes. The former notions can then be defined in terms of causal processes.


Science


Causality is a basic assumption of science. Within the scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

, scientists set up experiment
Experiment
An experiment is a methodical procedure carried out with the goal of verifying, falsifying, or establishing the validity of a hypothesis. Experiments vary greatly in their goal and scale, but always rely on repeatable procedure and logical analysis of the results...

s to determine causality in the physical world. Embedded within the scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 and experiments is a hypothesis
Hypothesis
A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. The term derives from the Greek, ὑποτιθέναι – hypotithenai meaning "to put under" or "to suppose". For a hypothesis to be put forward as a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it...

 or several hypotheses about causal relationships. The scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 is used to test the hypotheses.

Physics



Physicists conclude that certain elemental forces (gravity, the strong
Strong interaction
In particle physics, the strong interaction is one of the four fundamental interactions of nature, the others being electromagnetism, the weak interaction and gravitation. As with the other fundamental interactions, it is a non-contact force...

 and weak
Weak interaction
Weak interaction , is one of the four fundamental forces of nature, alongside the strong nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity. It is responsible for the radioactive decay of subatomic particles and initiates the process known as hydrogen fusion in stars...

 nuclear forces, and electromagnetism) are the four fundamental forces
Fundamental interaction
In particle physics, fundamental interactions are the ways that elementary particles interact with one another...

 that cause all other events in the universe. The notion of causality that appears in many different physical theories is hard to interpret in ordinary language. One problem is typified by earth's interaction with the moon. It is inaccurate to say, "the moon exerts a gravitic pull and then the tides rise." In Newtonian mechanics gravity, rather, is a constant observable relationship among masses, and the movement of the tides is an example of that relationship. There are no discrete events or "pulls" that can be said to precede the rising of tides. Interpreting gravity causally is even more complicated in general relativity
General relativity
General relativity or the general theory of relativity is the geometric theory of gravitation published by Albert Einstein in 1916. It is the current description of gravitation in modern physics...

. Similarly, quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

 is another branch of physics in which the concept of causality is challenged by paradoxes
EPR paradox
The EPR paradox is a topic in quantum physics and the philosophy of science concerning the measurement and description of microscopic systems by the methods of quantum physics...

. For statistical generalization, causality has further implications due to its intimate connection with the Second Law of Thermodynamics
Second law of thermodynamics
The second law of thermodynamics is an expression of the tendency that over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential equilibrate in an isolated physical system. From the state of thermodynamic equilibrium, the law deduced the principle of the increase of entropy and...

 (see the fluctuation theorem
Fluctuation theorem
The fluctuation theorem , which originated from statistical mechanics, deals with the relative probability that the entropy of a system which is currently away from thermodynamic equilibrium will increase or decrease over a given amount of time...

).

Engineering


A causal system
Causal system
A causal system is a system where the output depends on past/current inputs but not future inputs i.e...

 is a system
System
System is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole....

 with output and internal states that depends only on the current and previous input values. A system that has some dependence on input values from the future (in addition to possible past or current input values) is termed an acausal system, and a system that depends solely on future input values is an anticausal system
Anticausal system
An anticausal system is a hypothetical system with outputs and internal states that depend solely on future input values. Some textbooks and published research literature might define an anticausal system to be one that does not depend on past input values An anticausal system is a hypothetical...

. Acausal filters, for example, can only exist as postprocessing filters, because these filters can extract future values from a memory buffer or a file.

Biology and medicine


Austin Bradford Hill
Austin Bradford Hill
Sir Austin Bradford Hill FRS , English epidemiologist and statistician, pioneered the randomized clinical trial and, together with Richard Doll, was the first to demonstrate the connection between cigarette smoking and lung cancer...

 built upon the work of Hume
David Hume
David Hume was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment...

 and Popper
Karl Popper
Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS FBA was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics...

 and suggested in his paper "The Environment and Disease: Association or Causation?" that aspects of an association such as strength, consistency, specificity and temporality be considered in attempting to distinguish causal from noncausal associations in the epidemiological situation. See Bradford-Hill criteria
Bradford-Hill criteria
The Bradford Hill criteria, otherwise known as Hill's criteria for causation, are a group of minimal conditions necessary to provide adequate evidence of a causal relationship between an incidence and a consequence, established by the English epidemiologist Sir Austin Bradford Hill in 1965.The...

.

Psychology


Psychologists take an empirical approach to causality, investigating how people and non-human animals detect or infer causation from sensory information, prior experience and innate knowledge.

Attribution
Attribution theory is the theory
Theory
The English word theory was derived from a technical term in Ancient Greek philosophy. The word theoria, , meant "a looking at, viewing, beholding", and referring to contemplation or speculation, as opposed to action...

 concerning how people explain individual occurrences of causation. Attribution
Attribution (psychology)
Attribution is a concept in social psychology referring to how individuals explain causes of behavior and events. Attribution theory is an umbrella term for various theories that attempt to explain these processes. Fritz Heider first proposed a theory of attribution The Psychology of Interpersonal...

 can be external (assigning causality to an outside agent or force - claiming that some outside thing motivated the event) or internal (assigning causality to factors within the person - taking personal responsibility
Moral responsibility
Moral responsibility usually refers to the idea that a person has moral obligations in certain situations. Disobeying moral obligations, then, becomes grounds for justified punishment. Deciding what justifies punishment, if anything, is a principle concern of ethics.People who have moral...

 or accountability
Accountability
Accountability is a concept in ethics and governance with several meanings. It is often used synonymously with such concepts as responsibility, answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and other terms associated with the expectation of account-giving...

 for one's actions and claiming that the person was directly responsible for the event). Taking causation one step further, the type of attribution a person provides influences their future behavior.


The intention behind the cause or the effect can be covered by the subject of action (philosophy). See also accident
Accident
An accident or mishap is an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance, often with lack of intention or necessity. It implies a generally negative outcome which may have been avoided or prevented had circumstances leading up to the accident been recognized, and acted upon, prior to its...

; blame
Blame
Blame is the act of censuring, holding responsible, making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. When someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong their action is blameworthy...

; intent; and responsibility.

Causal powers
Whereas David Hume
David Hume
David Hume was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment...

 argued that causes are inferred from non-causal observations, Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

 claimed that people have innate assumptions about causes. Within psychology, Patricia Cheng
Patricia Cheng
Patricia W. Cheng is a leading researcher in cognitive psychology who works on human reasoning. She is best known for her psychological work on human understanding of causality...

 (1997) attempted to reconcile the Humean and Kantian views. According to her power PC theory, people filter observations of events through a basic belief that causes have the power to generate (or prevent) their effects, thereby inferring specific cause-effect relations. The theory assumes probabilistic causation. Pearl (2000) has shown that Cheng's causal power can be given a counterfactual interpretation, (i.e., the probability that, absent and , would be true if were true) and is computable therefore using structural models. Within a Bayesian framework, the power PC theory can be interpreted as a noisy-OR function used to compute likelihoods (Griffiths & Tenenbaum, 2005)


Causation and salience
Our view of causation depends on what we consider to be the relevant events. Another way to view the statement, "Lightning causes thunder" is to see both lightning and thunder as two perceptions of the same event, viz., an electric discharge that we perceive first visually and then aurally.


Naming and causality
While the names we give objects often refer to their appearance, they can also refer to an object's causal powers - what that object can do, the effects it has on other objects or people. David Sobel and Alison Gopnik from the Psychology Department of UC Berkeley designed a device known as the blicket detector, which suggests that "when causal property and perceptual features are equally evident, children are equally as likely to use causal powers as they are to use perceptual properties when naming objects".


Perception of Launching Events
Some researchers such as Anjan Chatterjee
Anjan Chatterjee
Anjan Chatterjee is an Indian hotelier and founder of Speciality Group of Restaurants.-Early life:Anjan grew up in many places in India. He went to Modern School in Delhi and completed graduation from Ravenshaw College, Cuttack...

 at the University of Pennsylvania and Jonathan Fugelsang at the University of Waterloo are using neuroscience techniques to investigate the neural and psychological underpinnings of causal launching events in which one object causes another object to move. Both temporal and spatial factors can be manipulated.

Economics


Economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 usually employs pre-existing data rather than experimental data to infer causality. The body of statistical techniques that are used in economics is referred to as econometrics
Econometrics
Econometrics has been defined as "the application of mathematics and statistical methods to economic data" and described as the branch of economics "that aims to give empirical content to economic relations." More precisely, it is "the quantitative analysis of actual economic phenomena based on...

, and involves substantial use of regression analysis
Regression analysis
In statistics, regression analysis includes many techniques for modeling and analyzing several variables, when the focus is on the relationship between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables...

. Typically a linear relationship such as


is postulated, in which is the ith observation of the dependent variable (hypothesized to be the caused variable), for j=1,...,k is the ith observation on the jth independent variable (hypothesized to be a causative variable), and is the error term for the ith observation (containing the combined effects of all other causative variables, which must be uncorrelated with the included independent variables). If there is reason to believe that none of the s is caused by y, then estimates of the coefficients are obtained. If the null hypothesis that is rejected, then the alternative hypothesis that and equivalently that causes y cannot be rejected. On the other hand, if the null hypothesis that cannot be rejected, then equivalently the hypothesis of no causal effect of on y cannot be rejected. Here the notion of causality is one of contributory causality as discussed above: If the true value , then a change in will result in a change in y unless some other causative variable(s), either included in the regression or implicit in the error term, change in such a way as to exactly offset its effect; thus a change in is not sufficient to change y. Likewise, a change in is not necessary to change y, because a change in y could be caused by something implicit in the error term (or by some other causative explanatory variable included in the model).

The above way of testing for causality requires belief that there is no reverse causation, in which y would cause . This belief can be established in one of several ways. First, the variable may be a non-economic variable: for example, if rainfall amount is hypothesized to affect the futures price y of some agricultural commodity, it is impossible that in fact the futures price affects rainfall amount (provided that cloud seeding is never attempted). Second, the instrumental variables technique may be employed to remove any reverse causation by introducing a role for other variables (instruments) that are known to be unaffected by the dependent variable. Third, the principle that effects cannot precede causes can be invoked, by including on the right side of the regression only variables that precede in time the dependent variable; this principle is invoked, for example, in testing for Granger causality
Granger causality
The Granger causality test is a statistical hypothesis test for determining whether one time series is useful in forecasting another. Ordinarily, regressions reflect "mere" correlations, but Clive Granger, who won a Nobel Prize in Economics, argued that there is an interpretation of a set of tests...

 and in its multivariate analog, vector autoregression
Vector autoregression
Vector autoregression is a statistical model used to capture the linear interdependencies among multiple time series. VAR models generalize the univariate autoregression models. All the variables in a VAR are treated symmetrically; each variable has an equation explaining its evolution based on...

, both of which control for lagged values of the dependent variable while testing for causal effects of lagged independent variables.

Regression analysis controls for other relevant variables by including them as regressors (explanatory variables). This helps to avoid false inferences of causality due to the presence of a third, underlying, variable that influences both the potentially causative variable and the potentially caused variable: its affect on the potentially caused variable is captured by directly including it in the regression, so that effect will not be picked up as an indirect effect through the potentially causative variable of interest.

Management



For quality control in manufacturing in the 1960s, Kaoru Ishikawa
Kaoru Ishikawa
was a Japanese university professor and influential quality management innovator best known in North America for the Ishikawa or cause and effect diagram that is used in the analysis of industrial process.- Biography :...

 developed a cause and effect diagram, known as an Ishikawa diagram
Ishikawa diagram
Ishikawa diagrams are causal diagrams that show the causes of a certain event -- created by Kaoru Ishikawa . Common uses of the Ishikawa diagram are product design and quality defect prevention, to identify potential factors causing an overall effect...

 or fishbone diagram. The diagram categorizes causes, such as into the six main categories shown here. These categories are then sub-divided. Ishikawa's method identifies "causes" in brainstorming sessions conducted among various groups involved in the manufacturing process. These groups can then be labeled as categories in the diagrams. The use of these diagrams has now spread beyond quality control, and they are used in other areas of management and in design and engineering. Ishikawa diagrams have been criticized for failing to make the distinction between necessary conditions and sufficient conditions. It seems that Ishikawa was not even aware of this distinction.

History


In the discussion of history, events are often considered as if in some way being agents that can then bring about other historical events. Thus, the combination of poor harvests, the hardships of the peasants, high taxes, lack of representation of the people, and kingly ineptitude are among the causes of the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. This is a somewhat Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

nic and Hegelian
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher, one of the creators of German Idealism. His historicist and idealist account of reality as a whole revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Continental philosophy and Marxism.Hegel developed a comprehensive...

 view that reifies
Reification
Reification generally refers to bringing into being or turning concrete.Specifically, reification may refer to:*Reification , making a data model for a previously abstract concept...

 causes as ontological entities
Ontology
Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality as such, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations...

. In Aristotelian terminology, this use approximates to the case of the efficient cause.

Law



According to law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 and jurisprudence
Jurisprudence
Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law. Scholars of jurisprudence, or legal theorists , hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal reasoning, legal systems and of legal institutions...

, legal cause must be demonstrated to hold a defendant
Defendant
A defendant or defender is any party who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff or pursuer in a civil lawsuit before a court, or any party who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute...

 liable for a crime
Crime
Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction...

 or a tort
Tort
A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a wrong that involves a breach of a civil duty owed to someone else. It is differentiated from a crime, which involves a breach of a duty owed to society in general...

 (i.e. a civil wrong such as negligence or trespass). It must be proven that causality, or a "sufficient causal link" relates the defendant's actions to the criminal event or damage in question. Causation is also an essential legal element that must be proven to qualify for remedy measures under international trade law.

Theology


Note the concept of omnicausality in theology and in philosophy.

See also


Statistics:
  • Causal loop diagram
    Causal loop diagram
    A causal loop diagram is a causal diagram that aids in visualizing how interrelated variables affect one another. The diagram consists of a set of nodes representing the variables connected together...

  • Causal Markov condition
    Causal Markov condition
    The Markov condition for a Bayesian network states that any node in a Bayesian network is conditionally independent of its nondescendents, given its parents.A node is conditionally independent of the entire network, given its Markov blanket....

  • Correlation does not imply causation
    Correlation does not imply causation
    "Correlation does not imply causation" is a phrase used in science and statistics to emphasize that correlation between two variables does not automatically imply that one causes the other "Correlation does not imply causation" (related to "ignoring a common cause" and questionable cause) is a...

  • Experimental design
  • Granger causality
    Granger causality
    The Granger causality test is a statistical hypothesis test for determining whether one time series is useful in forecasting another. Ordinarily, regressions reflect "mere" correlations, but Clive Granger, who won a Nobel Prize in Economics, argued that there is an interpretation of a set of tests...

  • Linear regression
    Linear regression
    In statistics, linear regression is an approach to modeling the relationship between a scalar variable y and one or more explanatory variables denoted X. The case of one explanatory variable is called simple regression...

  • Randomness
    Randomness
    Randomness has somewhat differing meanings as used in various fields. It also has common meanings which are connected to the notion of predictability of events....

  • Rubin Causal Model
    Rubin Causal Model
    The Rubin Causal Model is an approach to the statistical analysis of cause and effect based on the framework of potential outcomes. RCM is named after Donald Rubin, Professor of Statistics at Harvard University...

  • Validity (statistics)
    Validity (statistics)
    In science and statistics, validity has no single agreed definition but generally refers to the extent to which a concept, conclusion or measurement is well-founded and corresponds accurately to the real world. The word "valid" is derived from the Latin validus, meaning strong...



Physics:
  • Anthropic principle
    Anthropic principle
    In astrophysics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Some proponents of the argument reason that it explains why the Universe has the age and the fundamental...

  • Arrow of time
    Arrow of time
    The arrow of time, or time’s arrow, is a term coined in 1927 by the British astronomer Arthur Eddington to describe the "one-way direction" or "asymmetry" of time...

  • Butterfly effect
    Butterfly effect
    In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions; where a small change at one place in a nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state...

  • Chain reaction
    Chain reaction
    A chain reaction is a sequence of reactions where a reactive product or by-product causes additional reactions to take place. In a chain reaction, positive feedback leads to a self-amplifying chain of events....

  • Grandfather paradox
    Grandfather paradox
    The grandfather paradox is a proposed paradox of time travel first described by the science fiction writer René Barjavel in his 1943 book Le Voyageur Imprudent . The paradox is this: suppose a man traveled back in time and killed his biological grandfather before the latter met the traveler's...

  • Quantum Zeno effect
    Quantum Zeno effect
    The quantum Zeno effect is a name coined by George Sudarshan and Baidyanath Misra of the University of Texas in 1977 in their analysis of the situation in which an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay. One can nearly "freeze" the evolution of the system by measuring it...

  • Retrocausality
    Retrocausality
    Retrocausality is any of several hypothetical phenomena or processes that reverse causality, allowing an effect to occur before its cause....

  • Schrödinger's cat
    Schrödinger's cat
    Schrödinger's cat is a thought experiment, usually described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects. The scenario presents a cat that might be...

  • Wheeler-Feynman absorber theory

Philosophy:
  • Aetiology
  • Chance (philosophy)
  • Chicken or the egg
  • Condition of possibility
    Condition of possibility
    Condition of possibility is a philosophical concept made popular by Immanuel Kant.A condition of possibility is a necessary framework for the possible appearance of a given list of entities. It is often used in contrast to the unilateral causality concept, or even to the notion of interaction. For...

  • Determinism
    Determinism
    Determinism is the general philosophical thesis that states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could happen. There are many versions of this thesis. Each of them rests upon various alleged connections, and interdependencies of things and...

  • Mill's Methods
    Mill's Methods
    Mill's Methods are five methods of induction described by philosopher John Stuart Mill in his 1843 book A System of Logic. They are intended to illuminate issues of causation.-Direct method of agreement:...

  • Newcomb's paradox
    Newcomb's paradox
    Newcomb's paradox, also referred to as Newcomb's problem, is a thought experiment involving a game between two players, one of whom purports to be able to predict the future. Whether the problem is actually a paradox is disputed....

  • Ontological paradox
  • Post hoc ergo propter hoc
    Post hoc ergo propter hoc
    Post hoc ergo propter hoc, Latin for "after this, therefore because of this," is a logical fallacy that states, "Since that event followed this one, that event must have been caused by this one." It is often shortened to simply post hoc and is also sometimes referred to as false cause,...

  • Predestination paradox
    Predestination paradox
    A predestination paradox is a paradox of time travel that is often used as a convention in science fiction. It exists when a time traveller is caught in a loop of events that "predestines" or "predates" them to travel back in time...

  • Proximate and ultimate causation


General
  • Cosmological argument
    Cosmological argument
    The cosmological argument is an argument for the existence of a First Cause to the universe, and by extension is often used as an argument for the existence of an "unconditioned" or "supreme" being, usually then identified as God...

  • Domino effect
    Domino effect
    The domino effect is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on in linear sequence. The term is best known as a mechanical effect, and is used as an analogy to a falling row of dominoes...

  • Sequence of events


Mathematics:
  • Causal filter
    Causal filter
    In signal processing, a causal filter is a linear and time-invariant causal system. The word causal indicates that the filter output depends only on past and present inputs. A filter whose output also depends on future inputs is non-causal. A filter whose output depends only on future inputs is...

  • Causal system
    Causal system
    A causal system is a system where the output depends on past/current inputs but not future inputs i.e...

  • Causality conditions
    Causality conditions
    In the study of Lorentzian manifold spacetimes there exists a hierarchy of causality conditions which are important in proving mathematical theorems about the global structure of such manifolds. These conditions were collected during the late 1970s....

  • Chaos theory
    Chaos theory
    Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, with applications in several disciplines including physics, economics, biology, and philosophy. Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions, an effect which is popularly referred to as the...


Psychology & Medicine:
  • Adverse effect
    Adverse effect (medicine)
    In medicine, an adverse effect is a harmful and undesired effect resulting from a medication or other intervention such as surgery.An adverse effect may be termed a "side effect", when judged to be secondary to a main or therapeutic effect. If it results from an unsuitable or incorrect dosage or...

  • Clinical trial
    Clinical trial
    Clinical trials are a set of procedures in medical research and drug development that are conducted to allow safety and efficacy data to be collected for health interventions...

  • Force Dynamics
    Force Dynamics
    Force dynamics is a semantic category that describes the way in which entities interact with reference to force. Force Dynamics gained a good deal of attention in cognitive linguistics due to its claims of psychological plausibility and the elegance with which it generalizes ideas not usually...

  • Iatrogenesis
    Iatrogenesis
    Iatrogenesis, or an iatrogenic artifact is an inadvertent adverse effect or complication resulting from medical treatment or advice, including that of psychologists, therapists, pharmacists, nurses, physicians and dentists...

  • Nocebo
    Nocebo
    In medicine, a nocebo reaction or response refers to harmful, unpleasant, or undesirable effects a subject manifests after receiving an inert dummy drug or placebo...

  • Placebo
    Placebo
    A placebo is a simulated or otherwise medically ineffectual treatment for a disease or other medical condition intended to deceive the recipient...

  • Scientific control
    Scientific control
    Scientific control allows for comparisons of concepts. It is a part of the scientific method. Scientific control is often used in discussion of natural experiments. For instance, during drug testing, scientists will try to control two groups to keep them as identical and normal as possible, then...

  • Synchronicity
    Synchronicity
    Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance and that are observed to occur together in a meaningful manner...

  • Suggestibility
    Suggestibility
    Suggestibility is the quality of being inclined to accept and act on the suggestions of others.A person experiencing intense emotions tends to be more receptive to ideas and therefore more suggestible. Generally, suggestibility decreases as age increases...

  • Suggestion
    Suggestion
    Suggestion is the psychological process by which one person guides the thoughts, feelings, or behaviour of another. Nineteenth century writers on psychology such as William James used the words "suggest" and "suggestion" in senses close to those they have in common speech—one idea was said to...



Sociology & Economics:
  • Instrumental variable
    Instrumental variable
    In statistics, econometrics, epidemiology and related disciplines, the method of instrumental variables is used to estimate causal relationships when controlled experiments are not feasible....

  • Root cause analysis
    Root cause analysis
    Root cause analysis is a class of problem solving methods aimed at identifying the root causes of problems or events.Root Cause Analysis is any structured approach to identifying the factors that resulted in the nature, the magnitude, the location, and the timing of the harmful outcomes of one...

  • Self-fulfilling prophecy
    Self-fulfilling prophecy
    A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior. Although examples of such prophecies can be found in literature as far back as ancient Greece and...

  • Unintended consequence
    Unintended consequence
    In the social sciences, unintended consequences are outcomes that are not the outcomes intended by a purposeful action. The concept has long existed but was named and popularised in the 20th century by American sociologist Robert K. Merton...

  • Virtuous circle and vicious circle
    Virtuous circle and vicious circle
    A virtuous circle and a vicious circle are economic terms. They refer to a complex of events that reinforces itself through a feedback loop. A virtuous circle has favorable results, while a vicious circle has detrimental results...



Other references


  • Azamat Abdoullaev
    Azamat Abdoullaev
    Azamat Sh. Abdoullaev is the ontologist and theoretical physicist who introduced a universal world model as a standard ontology/semantics for human beings and computing machines...

     (2000). The Ultimate of Reality: Reversible Causality, in Proceedings of the 20th World Congress of Philosophy, Boston: Philosophy Documentation Centre, internet site, Paideia Project On-Line: http://www.bu.edu/wcp/MainMeta.htm
  • Green, Celia (2003). The Lost Cause: Causation and the Mind-Body Problem. Oxford: Oxford Forum. ISBN 0-9536772-1-4 Includes three chapters on causality at the microlevel in physics.
  • Judea Pearl
    Judea Pearl
    Judea Pearl is a computer scientist and philosopher, best known for developing the probabilistic approach to artificial intelligence and the development of Bayesian networks ....

     (2000). Causality: Models of Reasoning and Inference http://bayes.cs.ucla.edu/BOOK-2K/ Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

     ISBN 978-0521773621
  • Rosenberg, M. (1968). The Logic of Survey Analysis. New York: Basic Books, Inc.

  • Spirtes, Peter, Clark Glymour and Richard Scheines Causation, Prediction, and Search, MIT Press
    MIT Press
    The MIT Press is a university press affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts .-History:...

    , ISBN 0-262-19440-6
  • University of California
    University of California
    The University of California is a public university system in the U.S. state of California. Under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the University of California is a part of the state's three-tier public higher education system, which also includes the California State University...

    journal articles, including Judea Pearl's articles between 1984-1998 http://fmdb.cs.ucla.edu/tech_reports/searchresponse.lasso#Anchor-Judea%20Pearl.

External links


Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


General