Pearson's wrong turning: against statistical measures of causal efficacy

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Northcott, Robert
conference paper description
Standard statistical measures of strength of association, although pioneered by Pearson deliberately to be acausal, nowadays are routinely used to measure causal efficacy. But their acausal origins have left them ill suited to this latter purpose. I distinguish between two different conceptions of causal efficacy, and argue that: 1) Both conceptions can be useful 2) The statistical measures only attempt to capture the first of them 3) They are not fully successful even at this 4) An alternative definition more squarely based on causal thinking not only captures the second conception, it can also capture the first one better too.