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This more in-depth online version features the following changes from the print handbook version: Extended citations and expanded sections discussing topics in more detail. Sub-section 6.3 on causation in quantum mechanics and EPR scenarios added.

Updated on 7 July 2016. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 15 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses some philosophical theories of causation and their application to several areas of science. Topics addressed include regularity, counterfactual, and causal process theories of causation; the causal interpretation of structural equation models and directed graphs; independence assumptions in causal reasoning; and the role of causal concepts in physics. In connection with this last topic, this article focuses on the relationship between causal asymmetries, the time-reversal invariance of most fundamental physical laws, and the significance of differences among varieties of differential equations (e.g., hyperbolic versus nonhyperbolic) in causal interpretation. It concludes with some remarks about “grounding” special science causal generalizations in physics.

Keywords: causation, counterfactuals, causal process, structural equation, directed graphs, causal asymmetry

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