Bayesian Networks and Causal Ecumenism

November, 2020


Proponents of various causal exclusion arguments claim that for any given event, there is often a unique level of granularity at which that event is caused. Against these causal exclusion arguments, causal ecumenists argue that the same event or phenomenon can be caused at multiple levels of granularity. This paper argues that the Bayesian network approach to representing the causal structure of target systems is consistent with causal ecumenism. Given the ubiquity of Bayesian networks as a tool for representing causal structure in both philosophy of science and science itself, this result speaks in favor of the ecumenical view, and against rival exclusionary accounts. Gebharter’s (2017) argument that the Bayes nets formalism is consistent with causal exclusion is considered and rebutted.

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