AAAI Publications, Twelfth International Conference on the Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning

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The Temporal Logic of Token Causes
Samantha Kleinberg, Bud Mishra

Last modified: 2010-04-27

Abstract


While type causality helps us to understand general relationships such as the etiology of a disease (smoking causing lung cancer), token causality aims to explain causal connections in specific instantiated events, such as the diagnosis of a patient (Ravi’s developing lung cancer after a 20-year smoking habit). Understanding why something happened, as in these examples, is central to reasoning in such diverse cases as the diagnosis of patients, understanding why the US financial market collapsed in 2007 and finding a causal explanation for Obama’s victory over Clinton in the US primary. However, despite centuries of work in philosophy and decades of research in computer science, the problem of how to rigorously formalize token causality and how to automate such reasoning has remained unsolved. In this paper, we show how to use type-level causal relationships, represented as temporal logic formulas, together with philosophical principles, to reason about these token-level cases.

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