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Causality, Invariance and Policy

Cartwright, N

Causality, Invariance and Policy Thumbnail



H Kincaid

D Ross


This chapter has five aims: 1. To explain the puzzling methodology of an important econometric study of health and status. 2. To note the widespread use of invariance in both economic and philosophical studies of causality to guarantee that causal knowledge can be used, as we have always supposed it can be, to predict the effects of manipulations. 3. To argue that the kind of invariance seen widely in economic methodology succeeds at this job whereas a standard kind of invariance now popular in philosophy cannot. 4. To question the special role of causal knowledge with respect to predictions about the effects of manipulations once the importance of adding on invariance is recognized. 5. To draw the despairing conclusion that both causation and invariance are poor tools for predicting the outcomes of policy and technology and to pose the challenge: what can we offer that works better?


Cartwright, N. (2009). Causality, Invariance and Policy. In H. Kincaid, & D. Ross (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of philosophy of economics (410-423). Oxford University Press

Publication Date Jan 1, 2009
Deposit Date Sep 22, 2015
Publicly Available Date Apr 15, 2016
Publisher Oxford University Press
Pages 410-423
Series Title Oxford handbooks in philosophy
Book Title The Oxford handbook of philosophy of economics.
Publisher URL


Accepted Book Chapter (225 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is a draft of a chapter that was accepted for publication by Oxford University Press in the book 'The Oxford handbook of philosophy of economics' edited by Harold Kincaid and Don Ross and published in 2009.

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