Causal mechanisms

Samuel G. B. Johnson, Woo-kyoung Ahn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter reviews empirical and theoretical results concerning knowledge of causal mechanisms— beliefs about how and why events are causally linked. First, it reviews the effects of mechanism knowledge, showing that mechanism knowledge can trump other cues to causality (including covariation evidence and temporal cues) and structural constraints (the Markov condition), and that mechanisms play a key role in various forms of inductive inference. Second, it examines several theories of how mechanisms are mentally represented— as associations, forces or powers, icons, abstract placeholders, networks, or schemas— and the empirical evidence bearing on each theory. Finally, it describes ways that people acquire mechanism knowledge, discussing the contributions from statistical induction, testimony, reasoning, and perception. For each of these topics, it highlights key open questions for future research.
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford handbook of causal reasoning
EditorsMichael R. Waldmann
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages127-146
ISBN (Electronic)9780199399550
DOIs
StatusPublished - 2017

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causality
induction
testimony
evidence
event

Cite this

Johnson, S. G. B., & Ahn, W. (2017). Causal mechanisms. In M. R. Waldmann (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of causal reasoning (pp. 127-146). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199399550.013.12

Causal mechanisms. / Johnson, Samuel G. B.; Ahn, Woo-kyoung.

The Oxford handbook of causal reasoning. ed. / Michael R. Waldmann. Oxford, UK : Oxford University Press, 2017. p. 127-146.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Johnson, SGB & Ahn, W 2017, Causal mechanisms. in MR Waldmann (ed.), The Oxford handbook of causal reasoning. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, pp. 127-146. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199399550.013.12
Johnson SGB, Ahn W. Causal mechanisms. In Waldmann MR, editor, The Oxford handbook of causal reasoning. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 2017. p. 127-146 https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199399550.013.12
Johnson, Samuel G. B. ; Ahn, Woo-kyoung. / Causal mechanisms. The Oxford handbook of causal reasoning. editor / Michael R. Waldmann. Oxford, UK : Oxford University Press, 2017. pp. 127-146
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