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15. Reasoning about causation

Chapter summary

The fact that event A is correlated with event B does not imply that A causes B, because:

- the correlation might be accidental

- the causal direction is the reverse one

- there is a hidden common cause

- the correlation is due to side effects


Other topics: good evidence for causation, and special terms for describing causal connections


Supplementary material

A nice video about the placebo effect

YouTube Video



Additional exercises

1. Evaluate these arguments and in particular think about possible alternative explanations.

(a) J&J's new bandages are very good at promoting wound recovery, 89% of those surveyed agreed that they wounds have improved significantly after using the bandage for 5 days.


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