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The Why of ThingsCausality in Science, Medicine, and Life$
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Peter Rabins

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164726

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164726.001.0001

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The Answer is Either “No” or “Yes”

The Answer is Either “No” or “Yes”

Causality as a Categorical Concept

(p.37) 3 The Answer is Either “No” or “Yes”
The Why of Things

Peter V. Rabins

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses causality as a categorical concept. Computers are based on the idea that knowledge can be coded and stored in a binary or dichotomous fashion such that each information point consists of a question with only two possible answers. In numeric representation the two possibilities are usually “zero” or “one,” while in linguistic representation the two choices are usually stated as “no” or “yes.” The computer represents these two states in an electronic circuit in which a switch is either open or closed. Because the two possible states of the binary approach are mutually exclusive and absolute, this approach is referred to as categorical, binary, digital, or dichotomous. Categorical logic is the usual model of reasoning used to conceptualize causal relationships. The simplicity of the categorical model can help enumerate the properties needed to demonstrate causality. This chapter considers plausibility and simplicity as two criteria of cause as well as the notion that the binary model of causality is too simple.

Keywords:   causality, computers, categorical logic, reasoning, causal relationships, plausibility, simplicity, cause, binary model, categorical model

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