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"Formal Informal: The Markov Assumption" | MCMP joint event with Foundations of Statistics (13 June, 2012)
On 13 June, 2012, the MCMP is meeting the LMU Stats Department again: "Formal Informal" will center about "The Markov Assumption". Join us for the discussion in an open round at 6:30pm, Alte Bibliothek, room 245 (Ludwigstraße 33). Presenters will be Conor Mayo-Wilson (CMU Philosophy, currently visitor at the MCMP), Marco Cattaneo (LMU Statistics), and Roland Poellinger (MCMP/LMU).
From the manifesto: Bayesian nets are a powerful means of representing conditional independencies between variables in compact manner. Whatever the size of the domain, consistent inference is facilitated by one simple local requirement: The Markov assumption states that a variable is independent of all other non-successors given the values of its parents in the graph. In causal guise: Direct causes screen off their direct effects from other causal influences. What other ways of reading the Markov assumption are there? Why is it justified? Where does it hold? How can it be bent?
Download the invitation here as a PDF document.
Talk "Computing Non-causal Knowledge for Causal Reasoning" (11 June 2011)
Talk "Disentangling Nets for Causal Inference" @ DGPhil 2011 (13 Sept 2011)
On occasion of the MCMP workshop on mathematical philosophy (13 & 14 Sep 2011) as part of the DGPhil conference 2011, Roland Poellinger gave a short presentation titled "Disentangling Nets for Causal Inference". The topics: What problems arise, when Bayes net causal models are augmented by the insertion of non-causal, non-directional knowledge? How can structural knowledge about given situations be enriched to decide about the utility of available semi-DAGs? And is there any possibility to regain the Markov condition for consistent computation of causal claims from graphs that unify directional and undirectional information? Watch the talk on iTunes U!
Doctoral Thesis "Concrete Causation. About the Structures of Causal Knowledge."
The dissertation concludes the PhD project comprising the international conference "Concrete Causation" (2010) and the appertaining channel in iTunes U containing recordings of the "Concrete Causation" conference talks and of further research.
Download a summary of the thesis here [PDF].
[Keywords: causal modeling, interventionist account of causation, DAG, Bayesian networks, intervention, causal knowledge pattern, epistemic contour, subjective causation, Newcomb's paradox, prisoners' dilemma, causal Markov condition, Judea Pearl, David Lewis, Wolfgang Spohn]
Talk "Strukturen kausalen Wissens" (5. Mai 2011)
Am 5. Mai 2011 findet eine weitere Session in der "Research Seminar Series on Foundations of Statistics" am Institut für Statistik der LMU statt. Roland Poellinger wird unter dem Titel "Strukturen kausalen Wissens" zum Thema Bayesnetze und automatisierbare Kausalinferenz sprechen:
Die Frage nach der Ontologie oder der Beschreibung von Kausalzusammenhängen kreist immer wieder um das Verhältnis von Determinismus und (ontologischem oder deskriptiven) Indeterminismus innerhalb einer Theorie der Verursachung. Einige prominente Ansätze gründen die Kausalanalyse allein auf Korrelationen oder auf geeignet eingeschränkte Anforderungen an statistische Abhängigkeiten. Etliche Fallstricke und kontraintuitive Gegenbeispiele vereiteln allerdings dieses Vorhaben und erzwingen weitere Methodenverfeinerung. Judea PEARL (2000/2009) basiert seinen Analyseansatz auf die Abbildung von statistischen Abhängigkeiten in so genannten Bayesnetzen und formuliert seinen deterministischen Kausalbegriff mithilfe von systematischen, strukturellen Manipulationen solcher Bayesnetze.
Der Vortrag soll als "Work-in-Progress" auf das Format der Bayesnetze eingehen, automatische Verfahren der Netzgenerierung vorstellen und dies in den Zusammenhang mit einem deterministischen Verständnis von Kausalität bringen, welches im Kern (notwendigerweise) epistemisch ausgerichtet ist.
Research-based teaching with workshop videos
The poster/flyer "Research-based Teaching with Workshop Videos" was created for LMU's Virtuelle Hochschule and explains the motivation for and the process of organizing the international philosophical workshop "Concrete Causation" (July 2010) of which all talks were recorded, put online, and later used in class. Download the PDF (text in German) here!
Talk "Newcomb's Paradox and Its Intuitively Adequate Solution in Causal Knowledge Patterns" @ Uni Melbourne (7 Oct 2011)
On 7 Oct 2011 Roland Poellinger will give a talk at the University of Melbourne, titled "Newcomb's Paradox and Its Intuitively Adequate Solution in Causal Knowledge Patterns". Abstract: Referring back to the physicist William NEWCOMB, Robert NOZICK (1969) elaborates on – as he calls it – Newcomb’s problem, a decision-theoretic dilemma in which two principles of rational choice seemingly conflict each other, at least in numerous renditions in the vast literature on this topic: Dominance and the principle of maximum expected utility recommend different strategies in the plot of the game situation. While evidential decision theory (EDT) seems to be split over which principle to apply and how to interpret the principles in the first place, causal decision theory (CDT) seems to go for the solution recommended by dominance (“two-boxing”).
In this talk I will firstly present the CDT proposal by Wolfgang SPOHN (cf. “Reversing 30 Years of Discussion: Why Causal Decision Theorists Should One-Box”) who opts for “one-boxing” by employing reflexive decision graphs. The second part of my discussion – as a reply to SPOHN – will draw on the framework of causal knowledge patterns, i.e., Bayes net causal models (cf. PEARL 1995 and 2000/2009) augmented by non-causal knowledge (epistemic contours), to finally arrive at “one-boxing” – more intuitively and more closely to what actually is in NOZICK’s story.