On 30 Nov 2011 Roland Poellinger will give a talk at the Center for Formal Epistemology of Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, titled "Reclaiming Markov in Entangled Structures of Deterministic Causal Knowledge – Part 1: Epistemic Contours" (5pm, Baker Hall 150). This talk will concentrate on the observation that in many cases of causal reasoning non-causal, non-directional knowledge is drawn on and computed efficiently and consistently, although reasoning with this kind of knowledge seems to violate the causal Markov condition in standard Bayes net causal models. Examples are found in causal decision theory, where modeling Newcomb’s paradox (in its original formulation) or the prisoners’ dilemma seemingly yields counter-intuitive solutions, or in cases of inter-level (e. g., genuine bottom-up or top-down) causation that are usually simply collapsed to “flat” models incorporating (unanalyzed) cross-level mechanisms. Intermediate stages in the process of reducing theories, learning, or modeling given situations (e. g., stages with intensionally separated but extensionally equal variables) find no formalized expression in causal models obeying Markov. Embedding “entangled” variables in causal models renders those models non-Markovian. If we want to stick with these models, how can Markov be reclaimed?

Part 2 of the talk, "The Principle of Explanatory Dominance", will take place on 7 Dec 2011 (5pm, Baker Hall 150).

Download the abstract here as PDF.