Stochastic Independence and Causal Connection

Published: Erkenntnis 80, 605–627, 2015.

Abstract: Assumptions of stochastic independence are crucial to statistical models in science. But under what circumstances is it reasonable to suppose that two events are independent? When they are not causally or logically connected, so the usual story goes. But scientific models frequently treat causally dependent events as stochastically independent, raising the question whether there are kinds of causal connection that do not undermine stochastic independence. This paper provides one piece of an answer to this question, treating the simple case of two tossed coins with and without a midair collision.

This paper expands work on independence in my book Bigger than Chaos

See a PDF version of the paper.