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What does rationality have to do with psychological causation? Propositional attitudes as mechanisms and as control variables 

What does rationality have to do with psychological causation? Propositional attitudes as mechanisms and as control variables
Chapter:
What does rationality have to do with psychological causation? Propositional attitudes as mechanisms and as control variables
Author(s):

John Campbell

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199238033.003.0008
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date: 25 November 2017

How are we to decide what variables to use in characterizing the causal structure of a complex system? I’ll argue that one central component is the search for ‘control variables’. We want to be able to characterize the space of possible outcomes of interventions on the system in such a way that we can find ‘control variables’ – variables that have large, systematic, and specific effects on those outcomes. I look at the implications of this approach for a number of questions concerning causation in psychiatry.

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