The temporal logic of token causes

Samantha Kleinberg, Bud Mishra

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPrinciples of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 12th International Conference, KR 2010
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages3
ISBN (Print)9781577354512
StatePublished - 2010
Event12th International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, KR 2010 - Toronto, ON, Canada
Duration: May 9 2010May 13 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Knowledge Representation and Reasoning
ISSN (Print)2334-1025
ISSN (Electronic)2334-1033


Other12th International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, KR 2010
CityToronto, ON

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Logic


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