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Lecture on causal exclusion by Jiji Zhang

Title: Causal Exclusion, Subjunctive Conditionals, and Generalized Causal Models


Speaker: Prof. Jiji Zhang (Lingnan University)


Time: 19:00-21:00, Nov. 11th


Room: 106, Building 2 of Lee Shau Kee Humanities Buildings (李兆基人文学苑2号楼106)


Abstract: Judea Pearl's (functional) causal models have been used, among other things, to provide a semantics for subjunctive conditionals as they are understood by philosophers who advocate an interventionist theory of causation. However, the current formalism does not meet the need of philosophers who attempt to address the notorious problem of causal exclusion via interventionism, such as James Woodward and Lei Zhong. In this talk, I propose a generalization of the formalism to meet this need. The generalized causal models accommodate a kind of non-causal dependencies as well as causal dependencies, and the resulting semantics for subjunctive conditionals yields a logic that has interesting philosophical implications. (Time permitting, I will also describe how the generalized framework sheds new light on some issues studied in machine learning, such as ambiguous intervention effects and macro variable construction.)