[SydPhil] Notification: Paul Griffiths @ Wed 16 Nov 2016 13:00 - 14:30 (Seminars)

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Thu Nov 10 13:00:02 AEDT 2016

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Title: Paul Griffiths
Comparing causes: an information-theoretic
approach to specificity, proportionality and

It would be useful if the interventionist account of causation, in addition  
distinguishing causes from non-causes, could define various desirable  
of causal relationships. Amongst these properties are specificity,  
and stability. In earlier work we offered an information theoretic
analysis of causal specificity, using an approach which parallels existing  
in complex systems science. Here we extend this approach to proportionality
and stability. First, we show that the interventionist criterion of  
‘minimal invariance’, is formally equivalent to non-zero specificity. We  
show that there are natural, information theoretic ways to explicate the  
between potential and actual causal influence. With these foundations
in place we show that there is a natural information-theoretic approach
to describing causal variables that explicates the idea that causes should  
proportional to their effects. Then we draw a clear distinction between two
ideas in the existing literature, the range of invariance of a causal  
and its stability. Range of invariance is simply specificity. Stability
concerns the effect of additional variables on the relationship between some
focal pair of cause and effect variables. We show that in an information
theoretic framework there is an important distinction between the extent to
which these additional variables influence the effect and the extent to  
they influence the relationship between the focal cause and effect variable.
We show how to measure the influence of additional variables in both these
respects. The overall result of this work is to provide precise  
explications of a
whole family of intuitive notions associated with the interactionist  
account of
causation. In principle, these properties can now all be measured on a  
When: Wed 16 Nov 2016 13:00 – 14:30 Eastern Time - Melbourne, Sydney
Where: Sydney Uni, Muniment Room
Calendar: Seminars
     * Sam Shpall- creator

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