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Reasoning: Errors in Causation   By David Roberts, UR Writing Fellow ( printable version here ) Often writers argue that there is a causal relationship between two or more things. For example, some might argue that the Correlation does not imply causation . Many scholarly studies use the word “correlation” to describe two occurrences which happen together. However, a correlati 1. Alternate Causes . Consider a typical correlation: X correlates with Y. As X increases, so does Y. It does not necessarily   2. Reverse Causation . In some cases, one event takes place and shortly after, another takes place. Many times, however Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc. This Latin phrase translates to “After this, therefore because of this.” Sometimes writers assume that because one event ta “Tax cuts are good for the economy. Shortly after President Reagan cut personal income taxes in the 1980s, the U.S. econ
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Unformatted text preview: This may or may not be true; the point is, one must have more information than simply the time the two events took place to Single Cause . A related problem with establishing causality is that there could be more than one cause of an event. If one looks at data an 1) X took place before Y, and 2) X rises as Y rises, one may be tempted to assert a causal relationship between the two. However, this neglects the possibility that a third variable, Z, is also necessary for Y to happen. X alone does not cause Y; For example, sometimes economists use a person’s “willingness to pay” for a good to determine the demand for the good. Back to ' Analysis and Argument ' Writer's Web | Writing Center | Make an Appointment | Library...
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  • Winter '08
  • WONG
  • Causality, Correlation does not imply causation, President Reagan, causal relationship, David Roberts, UR Writing Fellow
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