CaPitS 2006 – Causality and Probability in the Sciences


14-16 June 2006
Keynes College Lecture Room 5, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK
(N6 on this map)


Causal inference is perhaps the most important form of reasoning in the sciences. A panoply of disciplines, ranging from epidemiology to biology, from econometrics to physics, make use of probability and statistics to infer causal relationships. The social and health sciences analyse population-level data using statistical methods to infer average causal relations. In diagnosis of disease, probabilistic statements are based on population-level causal knowledge combined with knowledge of a particular person’s symptoms. For the physical sciences, the Salmon-Dowe account develops an analysis of causation based on the notion of process and interaction. In artificial intelligence, the development of graphical methods has lent impetus to a probabilistic analysis of causality. The biological sciences use probabilistic methods to look for evolutionary causes of the state of a current species and to look for genetic causal factors. This variegated situation raises at least two fundamental philosophical issues: about the relation between causality and probability, and about the interpretation of probability in causal analysis.

In this workshop we aim to bring philosophers and scientists together to discuss the relation between causality and probability, and the applications of these concepts within the sciences.

Example Questions

How is causality related to probability?
Which interpretations of probability best fit the uses of causality in the sciences?
Do different sciences demand different notions of causality and probability?
How are causality and probability employed in scientific models?
Which formalisms for causal and probabilistic reasoning suit which sciences?
Does causal inference vary according to discipline?
Which case studies shed most light on the uses of causality and probability in the sciences?
How has causal inference changed over time?


  • 1st April: deadline for submission of titles and abstracts of papers for presentation
  • 1st May: notification of acceptance of papers for presentation.
  • 15th May: deadline for receipt of early-bird registration to attend the conference.
    • register by posting the conference fee of £20 with this registration form to
      • Department of Philosophy, attn. Miriam Waters, Cornwallis Building NW, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF, UK
    • please make out cheques to UNIKENT, with `Conference: Causality, probability and the sciences’ on the reverse side.
    • payment by bank transfer is also possible: email for details.
    • please also send an email to to say that you will be attending.
    • if registering after 15th May the fee is £30. Please proceed as above sending a cheque for this amount.
  • 1st June: deadline for submission of full papers for publication
  • 14th-16th June: conference.
  • 1st August: notification of acceptance of papers for publication.
  • 1st September: deadline for final version of papers accepted for publication.


Submitted talks: 20 mins + 10 mins questions
Invited talks: 40 mins + 20 mins questions

Abstracts are available in the conference booklet.

Wednesday 14th June

  • 13.30 Registration
  • 13.50 Welcome
  • 14.00-16.00
  • 16:00-16:30
    • Coffee
  • 16.30-18.00
    • Bert Leuridan: Galton’s blinding glasses. Modern statistics hiding causal structure in early theories of inheritance. powerpoint
    • Pawel Kawalec: Causality and explanation. A procedural approach to causal inference. powerpoint
    • Marianne Belis: The relation between causality and probability. powerpoint

Thursday 15th June

  • 09.00-11.00
  • 11:00-11:30
    • Coffee
  • 11.30-13.00
  • 13:00-14:00
    • Lunch
  • 14.00-16.00
  • 16:00-16:30
    • Coffee
  • 16.30-18.00
    • Sam Maes: Causal inference in graphical models with latent variables. From theory to practice. acrobat
    • Invited speaker: Kevin Korb: Informative interventions. powerpoint
  • 19.30

Friday 16th June

  • 09.00-11.00
    • Invited speaker: Mauricio Suarez: Causal inference in quantum mechanics: A reassessment.
    • Friedel Weinert: A conditional view of causality. powerpoint
    • Erik Weber: Conceptual tools for causal analysis in the social sciences. acrobat
  • 11:00-11:30
    • Coffee
  • 11.30-13.00
    • Damien Fennell: Causality, mechanisms and modularity: structural models in econometrics. powerpoint
    • Julian Reiss: Time series, invariance, and the principle of common cause. powerpoint
    • Alessio Moneta: Mediating between causes and probability: the use of graphical models in econometrics. powerpoint
  • 13:00-14:00
    • Lunch
  • 14.00-15.30
    • Amit Pundik: The causal relata in the legal context. acrobat
    • Invited speaker: Philip Dawid: Causality: counterfactual and hypothetical. acrobat

Local Information

There are many hotels and guest houses within easy reach of the University. Consult Tourist information or Around Canterbury for general tourist information, and here for bargain hotel rates.

Internet access: to get internet access at the university (wireless access is limited), apply at Computing Service Reception (the fee is £10). Visitors from UK universities may be able to connect via Janet roaming. There is also an internet cafe in Canterbury.


This conference is organised by Federica Russo and Jon Williamson as a part of the project: Causality and the interpretation of probability in the social and health sciences.


We are very grateful to the British Academy, the British Society for the Philosophy of Science, the Mind Association and the Kent Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities for providing financial support.