Authors: Samantha Kleinberg and Bud Mishra

Title: The Temporal Logic of Token Causes

While type causality helps 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 specific
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. Finally, we show how this
method can correctly reason about examples that have traditionally
proven difficult for both computational and philosophical
theories to handle.