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Balter Distinguished Lecture: Holly Andersen (Simon Fraser)
February 8, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The Nonconservation of causation as a conserved quantity
This talk lays out a counterintuitive consequence of the causal nexus of Salmon understood in terms of transfer of conserved quantities: even though the causation is comprised of transferred or propagated conserved quantities, causation is not itself conserved. I elaborate and extend Salmon’s graphical representation of the nexus for modeling singular causation, and then show how a peculiar (1998) diagram has far-reaching implications for causation. X interactions in the causal nexus conserve edges, but Y and lambda interactions do not. As a result, causation as the transfer of conserved quantities is not itself conserved. This allows for the definition of some measures on causation, causal amplification and dampening, in terms of changes in the number of edges entering and exiting nodes. I conclude by showing how this nexus could serve as ‘pixels’ in which patterns can be identified..