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date: 14 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Explanation and causation are intimately related. Explanations often appeal to causes, and causal claims are often answers to implicit or explicit questions about why or how something occurred. This chapter considers what we can learn about causal reasoning from research on explanation. In particular, it reviews an emerging body of work suggesting that explanatory considerations—such as the simplicity or scope of a causal hypothesis—can systematically influence causal inference and learning. It also discusses proposed distinctions among types of explanations and reviews the effects of each explanation type on causal reasoning and representation. Finally, it considers the relationship between explanations and causal mechanisms and raises important questions for future research.

Keywords: causation, explanation, causal inference, learning, reasoning, causal mechanisms

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