Summer 2022

Explanation: A(N Abridged) Survey

Tuesday, Jun. 28, 2022 4:00 pm4:30 pm PDT

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Joe Halpern (Cornell University)


Calvin Lab Auditorium

I consider a definition of (causal) explanation that is a variant of one Judea Pearl and I gave. The definition is based on the notion of actual cause. Essentially, an explanation is a fact that is not known for certain but, if found to be true, would constitute an actual cause of the fact to be explained, regardless of the agent's initial uncertainty. I show that the definition handles well a number of problematic examples from the literature, and discuss various notions of partial explanation.

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