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date: 16 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article provides an overview of causal thinking by characterizing four approaches to causal inference. It also describes the INUS model. It specifically presents a user-friendly synopsis of philosophical and statistical musings about causation. The four approaches to causality include neo-Humean regularity, counterfactual, manipulation and mechanisms, and capacities. A counterfactual is a statement, typically in the subjunctive mood, in which a false or ‘counter to fact’ premise is followed by some assertion about what would have happened if the premise were true. Three basic questions about causality are then addressed. Moreover, the article gives a review of four approaches of what causality might be. It pays attention on a counterfactual definition, mostly amounting to a recipe that is now widely used in statistics. It ends with a discussion of the limitations of the recipe and how far it goes toward solving the epistemological and ontological problems.

Keywords: causation, causal inference, INUS model, counterfactual, statistics

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