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. 2019 Aug;196(8):3213-3230.
doi: 10.1007/s11229-017-1568-8. Epub 2017 Sep 18.

Amalgamating Evidence of Dynamics


Amalgamating Evidence of Dynamics

David Danks et al. Synthese. .


Many approaches to evidence amalgamation focus on relatively static information or evidence: the data to be amalgamated involve different variables, contexts, or experiments, but not measurements over extended periods of time. However, much of scientific inquiry focuses on dynamical systems; the system's behavior over time is critical. Moreover, novel problems of evidence amalgamation arise in these contexts. First, data can be collected at different measurement timescales, where potentially none of them correspond to the underlying system's causal timescale. Second, missing variables have a significantly different impact on time series measurements than they do in the traditional static setting; in particular, they make causal and structural inference much more difficult. In this paper, we argue that amalgamation should proceed by integrating causal knowledge, rather than at the level of "raw" evidence. We defend this claim by first outlining both of these problems, and then showing that they can be solved only if we operate on causal structures. We therefore must use causal discovery methods that are reliable given these problems. Such methods do exist, but their successful application requires careful consideration of the problems that we highlight.

Keywords: Causal discovery; Causal inference; Dynamical systems; Latent variables; Timescale.

Conflict of interest statement

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