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Why look at Causality in the Sciences? A Manifesto

Illari, PK; Russo, F; Williamson, J; (2011) Why look at Causality in the Sciences? A Manifesto. In: Illari, P and Russo, F and Williamson, J, (eds.) Causality in the sciences. (3 - 22). Oxford University Press: Oxford. Green open access

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Abstract

The Recursive Bayesian Net (RBN) formalism was originally developed for modelling nested causal relationships. In this paper we argue that the formalism can also be applied to modelling the hierarchical structure of mechanisms. The resulting network contains quantitative information about probabilities, as well as qualitative information about mechanistic structure and causal relations. Since information about probabilities, mechanisms and causal relations is vital for prediction, explanation and control respectively, an RBN can be applied to all these tasks. We show in particular how a simple two-level RBN can be used to model a mechanism in cancer science. The higher level of our model contains variables at the clinical level, while the lower level maps the structure of the cell’s mechanism for apoptosis.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Why look at Causality in the Sciences? A Manifesto
ISBN-13: 9780199574131
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574131.001.0001
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574131...
Language: English
Additional information: pp.3-22, Why look at Causality in the Sciences? A Manifesto by Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson, in Causality in the Sciences edited by Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson, 2011, reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574131.001.0001.
Keywords: causality, causation, sciences, probability, statistics, mechanisms, philosophy of science
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Science and Technology Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1454737
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