# Causation

## Conclusion

Although the whirlwind tour in this short article is woefully inadequate, the references below (and especially their bibliographies) should be sufficient to point interested readers to the voluminous literature on causation produced in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century. Although the literature is vast and somewhat inchoate, it is safe to say that no reductive analysis of causation has emerged still afloat and basically seaworthy. What has been described here as the interdisciplinary theory of causation takes direct causation as a primitive, defines intervention from direct causation, and then connects causal systems to probabilities and statistical evidence through axioms, including the Causal Markov Axiom. Although it provides little comfort for those hoping to analyze causation Socratically, the theory does open the topic of causal epistemology in a way that has affected statistical and scientific practice, hopefully for the better. Surely that is some progress.

## THE ASYMMETRY OF CAUSATION THROUGH CAUSAL CONNECTION

Two variables A and B are "causally connected" if either A is a cause of B, B a cause of A, or a third variable causes them both. If causation is transitive, then it turns out that everything causally connected to X is connected to its effects, but not everything connected to Y is connected to its causes. When X → Y, everything causally connected to X is causally connected to Y (Fig. 7a), but something causally connected to Y is not necessarily causally connected to X (Fig. 7b).

Figure 7. The asymmetry in the transitivity of causal connection
SOURCE: Courtesy of the author

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Richard Scheines