Posts filed under “Philosophy”

Open Thread: What is Causation?

Last week, I discussed “The Big Lie goes viral” in terms of the causes of the financial crisis.

But that commentary begged the issue: What exactly is “Causation“?

This is a precise term of art that has a very specific meaning. Many of the world’s greatest thinkers, from Aristotle to Kant to Hume, have examined exactly what causality is. It plays a major role in the fields of Law, Physics, Logic and Economics.

To me, Causality is the relationship between one event (“the cause”) and a second event (“the effect”). I want to focus on the nature of that relationship. How and when can we say that one event is a consequence of another?

To assess how blameworthy any factor is regarding the cause of a subsequent event, I look at the following:

1) Is that factor proximate?

2) Is it statistically valid? Asked another way, does any data eliminate that factor?

3) Last, is that factor Necessary to the outcome? Is it Sufficient?

All of these elements are not necessary to demonstrate a cause and effect relationship; however, a lack of these factors is quite damning to claims of causation.

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Discuss . . .

Category: Bailouts, Legal, Philosophy, Really, really bad calls

The World At Seven Billion

The world’s population is expected to hit seven billion in the next few weeks. After growing very slowly for most of human history, the number of people on Earth has more than doubled in the last 50 years. Click below to find out where you fit into this story of human life? Source: The World…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Science

The Little Book of Hindu Deities

The Little Book of Hindu Deities: From the Goddess of Wealth to the Sacred Cow is adorable! Source: The Little Book of Hindu Deities: Pixar Animator Rethinks Myth Brain Pickings, October 27, 2011

Category: Books, Philosophy

QOTD: The Illusion of Skill

Our quote of the day comes from an article in this Sunday’s NYT magazine, Don’t Blink! The Hazards of Confidence by Daniel Kahneman: “The illusion of skill is not only an individual aberration; it is deeply ingrained in the culture of the [financial] industry. Facts that challenge such basic assumptions — and thereby threaten people’s…Read More

Category: Finance, Philosophy, Psychology

QOTD: Two Novels That Can Change Your Life

A fantastic quote bubbled up in comments the other day: “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Really, really bad calls

Nobel Laureates and Economic Prosperity

> The graphic above, via Jon Bruner of Forbes, reflects the enormous American contribution to Arts & Sciences over the past century. What is intriguing is not just that the US has won so many prizes, but that the a third of American Nobels have gone to immigrants to the US: “The United States has…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Research, Science, Technology

QOTD: The next Steve Jobs?

Interesting quote from The New Yorker: “Who will be the next Steve Jobs? I doubt it will be Mark Zuckerberg. He gives every indication of being the next Bill Gates: a smart dude who has one great idea at the right time, builds a monopoly, and then keeps it by releasing stuff that’s good enough…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Technology

QOTD: Cult of Ignorance

Our Quote of the Day is over 30 years old: “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is…Read More

Category: Philosophy

Da Bears . . .

Chart via WSJ > I have no idea where idea that “20%” somehow defines a bear market, or where it came from. In my mind, I prefer to think of this in the context of trends. Is any market moving from lower left to upper right of the chart? That is a bull market. If…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Trading

Dear Human . . .

Source: SMBC

Category: Philosophy, Weekend