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Cartwright, Nancy, , . Causal Laws and Effective Strategies
1979, Nous 13(4): 419-437.
Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by: Daniel Kokotajlo

Summary: Argues for the irreducibility of causal laws to laws of association, probabilistic or deterministic. Statistical or probabilistic analyses of causality, which typically require that the cause increase or alter the probability of the effect, cannot succeed because causes increase the probability of their effects only in situations that exhibit causal homogeneity with respect to that effect (Simpson’s paradox). This condition must enter the definition of an effective strategy, which is why causal laws are ineliminable for scientifically grounded interventions in nature.

Comment: I would recommend this as a further reading for a unit on causation and the laws of nature. It would be especially useful if situated within a metaphysics course where students have already come across general reductive accounts - e.g. reductive accounts of modality.

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