Beware of the DAG!


A. Philip Dawid ;
Proceedings of Workshop on Causality: Objectives and Assessment at NIPS 2008, PMLR 6:59-86, 2010.


Directed acyclic graph (DAG) models are popular tools for describing causal relationships and for guiding attempts to learn them from data. They appear to supply a means of extracting causal conclusions from probabilistic conditional independence properties inferred from purely observational data. I take a critical look at this enterprise, and suggest that it is in need of more, and more explicit, methodological and philosophical justification than it typically receives. In particular, I argue for the value of a clean separation between formal causal language and intuitive causal assumptions.

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