Original Article

Erkenntnis

, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 149-168

The Metaphysics of Causal Models

Where’s the Biff?
  • Toby HandfieldAffiliated withSchool of Philosophy and Bioethics, Monash University Email author 
  • , Charles R. TwardyAffiliated withInformation Extraction & Transport, Inc. (IET)
  • , Kevin B. KorbAffiliated withClayton School of Information Technology, Monash University
  • , Graham OppyAffiliated withSchool of Philosophy and Bioethics, Monash University

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Abstract

This paper presents an attempt to integrate theories of causal processes—of the kind developed by Wesley Salmon and Phil Dowe—into a theory of causal models using Bayesian networks. We suggest that arcs in causal models must correspond to possible causal processes. Moreover, we suggest that when processes are rendered physically impossible by what occurs on distinct paths, the original model must be restricted by removing the relevant arc. These two techniques suffice to explain cases of late preëmption and other cases that have proved problematic for causal models.

Keywords

Causation Causal models Processes Counterfactuals Preëmption