The problem of variable choice

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Synthese, ISSN: 0039-7857, Vol: 193, Issue: 4, Page: 1047-1072

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Woodward , James
Springer Nature
Arts and Humanities; Social Sciences
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article description
This paper explores some issues about the choice of variables for causal representation and explanation. Depending on which variables a researcher employs, many causal inference procedures and many treatments of causation will reach different conclusions about which causal relationships are present in some system of interest. The assumption of this paper is that some choices of variables are superior to other choices for the purpose of causal analysis. A number of possible criteria for variable choice are described and defended within a broadly interventionist approach to causation.