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Psychol Rev. 2005 Jul;112(3):675-84; discussion 694-707.

The power PC theory and causal powers: comment on Cheng (1997) and Novick and Cheng (2004).

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  • 1School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK.


It has been claimed that the power PC theory reconciles regularity and power theories of causal judgment by showing how contingency information is used for inferences about unobservable causal powers. Under the causal powers theory causal relations are understood as generative relations in which a causal power of one thing acts on a liability of another thing under some releasing condition. These 3 causal roles are implicit or explicit in all causal interpretations. The power PC theory therefore fails to reconcile power theories and regularity theories because it has a fundamentally different definition of power and does not accommodate the tripartite causal role distinction. Implications of this distinction are drawn out.

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