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Journal Article

Agency and Probabilistic Causality

Huw Price
The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Vol. 42, No. 2 (Jun., 1991), pp. 157-176
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/688050
Page Count: 20
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Agency and Probabilistic Causality
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Abstract

Probabilistic accounts of causality have long had trouble with 'spurious' evidential correlations. Such correlations are also central to the case for causal decision theory--the argument that evidential decision theory is inadequate to cope with certain sorts of decision problem. However, there are now several strong defences of the evidential theory. Here I present what I regard as the best defence, and apply it to the probabilistic approach to causality. I argue that provided a probabilistic theory appeals to the notions of agency and effective strategy, it can avoid the problem of spurious causes. I show that such an appeal has other advantages; and argue that it is not illegitimate, even for a causal realist.

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