causalcause and effectcausationcausecausal relationshipcausal relationshipscause-and-effectcausescausallycause and effect relationship
Causality (also referred to as causation, or cause and effect) is efficacy, by which one process or state, a cause, contributes to the production of another process or state, an effect, where the cause is partly responsible for the effect, and the effect is partly dependent on the cause.wikipedia
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Some writers have held that causality is metaphysically prior to notions of time and space.
Topics of metaphysical investigation include existence, objects and their properties, space and time, cause and effect, and possibility.

Immanuel Kant

KantKantianKant, Immanuel
Kant thought that time and space were notions prior to human understanding of the progress or evolution of the world, and he also recognized the priority of causality.
In his doctrine of transcendental idealism, he argued that space, time, and causation are mere sensibilities; "things-in-themselves" exist, but their nature is unknowable.


deterministicdeterministcausal determinism
The deterministic world-view holds that the history of the universe can be exhaustively represented as a progression of events following one after as cause and effect.
It is the concept that events within a given paradigm are bound by causality in such a way that any state (of an object or event) is completely determined by prior states.


physical worldThe Universeuniverses
The deterministic world-view holds that the history of the universe can be exhaustively represented as a progression of events following one after as cause and effect.
In various multiverse hypotheses, a universe is one of many causally disconnected constituent parts of a larger multiverse, which itself comprises all of space and time and its contents; as a consequence, ‘the Universe’ and ‘the multiverse’ are synonymous in such theories.

David Hume

HumeHumeanHume, David
In the philosophical literature, the suggestion that causation is to be defined in terms of a counterfactual relation is made by the 18th-century Scottish philosopher David Hume.
In what is sometimes referred to as Hume's problem of induction, he argued that inductive reasoning and belief in causality cannot be justified rationally; instead, our trust in causality and induction result from custom and mental habit, and are attributable only to the experience of "constant conjunction" of events.

Free will

freedomfreewillfreedom of the will
The incompatibilist version of this holds that there is no such thing as "free will".
This includes interactionist dualism, which claims that some non-physical mind, will, or soul overrides physical causality.

Correlation and dependence

Alternative methods of structure learning search through the many possible causal structures among the variables, and remove ones which are strongly incompatible with the observed correlations.
In statistics, dependence or association is any statistical relationship, whether causal or not, between two random variables or bivariate data.


In general this leaves a set of possible causal relations, which should then be tested by analyzing time series data or, preferably, designing appropriately controlled experiments.
Experiments provide insight into cause-and-effect by demonstrating what outcome occurs when a particular factor is manipulated.


confounding factorconfounding variableconfounding variables
One very practical result of this theory is the characterization of confounding variables, namely, a sufficient set of variables that, if adjusted for, would yield the correct causal effect between variables of interest.
Confounding is a causal concept, and as such, cannot be described in terms of correlations or associations.


space-timespace-time continuumspace and time
Some writers have held that causality is metaphysically prior to notions of time and space.
The light cone has an essential role within the concept of causality.

Special relativity

special theory of relativityrelativisticspecial
But he did not have the understanding that came with knowledge of Minkowski geometry and the special theory of relativity, that the notion of causality can be used as a prior foundation from which to construct notions of time and space.
Therefore, if causality is to be preserved, one of the consequences of special relativity is that no information signal or material object can travel faster than light in vacuum.

Correlation does not imply causation

Cum hoc ergo propter hoccausationcorrelation
A mere observation of a correlation is not nearly adequate to establish causality.
In statistics, the phrase "correlation does not imply causation" refers to the inability to legitimately deduce a cause-and-effect relationship between two variables solely on the basis of an observed association or correlation between them.

Granger causality

degree of causalityGrangergranger causality analysis
This can be determined by statistical time series models, for instance, or with a statistical test based on the idea of Granger causality, or by direct experimental manipulation.
Ordinarily, regressions reflect "mere" correlations, but Clive Granger argued that causality in economics could be tested for by measuring the ability to predict the future values of a time series using prior values of another time series.


incompatibilistincompatibilistshard incompatibilism
The incompatibilist version of this holds that there is no such thing as "free will".
Of course, hard determinists do not deny that one has desires, but say that these desires are causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences.


Attribution theory is the theory concerning how people explain individual occurrences of causation.
A "classical example" of the distinction between "theoretical" and "practical" uses the discipline of medicine: medical theory involves trying to understand the causes and nature of health and sickness, while the practical side of medicine is trying to make people healthy.

Causal reasoning

causal connectionCausal Reasoning (Psychology)
See Causal Reasoning (Psychology) for more information.
Causal reasoning is the process of identifying causality: the relationship between a cause and its effect.

Bradford Hill criteria

Bradford-Hill criteriaA. B. Hill's criteriaBradford Hill" criteria
(See Bradford-Hill criteria.) He did not note however, that temporality is the only necessary criterion among those aspects.
They can be useful in establishing epidemiologic evidence of a causal relationship between a presumed cause and an observed effect and have been widely used in public health research.

Chain of events

chain of prior occurrenceschain of related eventschain reaction
The deterministic world-view holds that the history of the universe can be exhaustively represented as a progression of events following one after as cause and effect.
Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition and behaviour, decision and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of events.

Regression analysis

regressionmultiple regressionregression model
The body of statistical techniques involves substantial use of regression analysis.
Second, in some situations regression analysis can be used to infer causal relationships between the independent and dependent variables.

Causal system

A causal system is a system with output and internal states that depends only on the current and previous input values.
The idea that the output of a function at any time depends only on past and present values of input is defined by the property commonly referred to as causality.

Patricia Cheng

Within psychology, Patricia Cheng attempted to reconcile the Humean and Kantian views.
She is best known for her psychological work on human understanding of causality.

David Lewis (philosopher)

David LewisDavid Kellogg LewisDavid K. Lewis
In his 1973 paper "Causation," David Lewis proposed the following definition of the notion of causal dependence:

Ishikawa diagram

fishbone diagramcause-and-effect diagramIshikawa diagrams
For quality control in manufacturing in the 1960s, Kaoru Ishikawa developed a cause and effect diagram, known as an Ishikawa diagram or fishbone diagram.
Ishikawa diagrams (also called fishbone diagrams, herringbone diagrams, cause-and-effect diagrams, or Fishikawa) are causal diagrams created by Kaoru Ishikawa that show the causes of a specific event.

J. L. Mackie

J.L. MackieJohn Leslie MackieJohn Mackie
J. L. Mackie argues that usual talk of "cause" in fact refers to INUS conditions (insufficient but non-redundant parts of a condition which is itself unnecessary but sufficient for the occurrence of the effect).
In metaphysics, Mackie made significant contributions relating to the nature of causal relationships, especially regarding conditional statements describing them (see, for example, Mackie 1974) and the notion of an INUS condition.

Quantum mechanics

quantum physicsquantum mechanicalquantum theory
It is specifically characteristic of quantal phenomena that observations defined by incompatible variables always involve important intervention by the experimenter, as described quantitatively by the observer effect.
Albert Einstein, himself one of the founders of quantum theory, did not accept some of the more philosophical or metaphysical interpretations of quantum mechanics, such as rejection of determinism and of causality.