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Causal Asymmetries


  • 34 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 320 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.64 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 122
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: BD541 .H38 1998
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Causation
    • Science--Philosophy

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521622899 | ISBN-10: 0521622891)

This book, by one of the pre-eminent philosophers of science writing today, offers the most comprehensive account available of causal asymmetries. Causation is asymmetrical in many different ways. Causes precede effects; explanations cite causes not effects. Agents use causes to manipulate their effects; they don't use effects to manipulate their causes. Effects of a common cause are correlated; causes of a common effect are not. This book explains why a relationship that is asymmetrical in one of these regards is asymmetrical in the others. Hausman discovers surprising hidden connections between theories of causation and traces them all to an asymmetry of independence. This is a major book for philosophers of science that will also prove insightful to economists and statisticians.

• Main selling point is Hausman, a very well-known philosopher who will be known to philosophers of science and social science, especially economics • Book is at once a critical introduction to modern theories of causation, and a defence of a new general theory of causation


List of figures; Acknowledgements; Introduction: causation and its asymmetries; 1. Metaphysical pictures and wishes; 1*. Transfer theories; 2. Is causation a relation among events?; 3. Causation, regularities and time: Hume's theory; 4. Causation and independence; 4*. Causation, independence and causal connection; 5. Agency theory; 5*. Causal generalizations and agency; 6. The counterfactual theory; 6*. Independence and counterfactual dependence; 7. Counterfactuals, agency and independence; 7*. Agency, counterfactuals and independence; 8. Causation, explanation and laws; 8*. Causation, explanation and independent alterability; 9. Probabilistic causation; 10. Causation and conditional probabilities; 10*. Causal graphs and conditional probabilistic dependencies; 11. Intervention, robustness and probabilistic dependence; 11*. Interventions and conditional probabilities; 12. Operationalizing and revising the independence theory; 12*. Probability distributions and causation; 13. Complications and conclusions; Appendix A: alphabetical list of propositions; Appendix B: list of theorems; References; Index.


'Any serious student of causality - economist or philosopher - will find careful study of Hausman's a valuable tool for clarifying his or her own thinking about causality.' Journal of Economic Methodology

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