Commentary on Kun Zhang’s presentation

16 March 2021, online causal inference seminar

Step back to the statistical view

The two fundamental problems of “causal inference”

  1. Estimation: Accepting a certain causal structure, what’re the effects of various configurations of the causes?
  2. Discovery: What is the causal structure of the system anyway?

Estimation problems

Discovery problems


Skating perdition

What kind of statistical problem?

What kind of results do we find in causal discovery?

Buying assumptions

Summing up


al-Ghazali, Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad at-Tusi. n.d. The Incoherence of the Philosophers = Tahafut al-Falasifah: A Parallel English-Arabic Text. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press.

Hume, David. 1739. A Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects. London: John Noon.

Manski, Charles F. 2003. Partial Identification of Probability Distributions. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Russell, Bertrand. 1954. Nightmares of Eminent Persons. New York: Simon; Schusters.

Zhang, Kun, Jonas Peters, Dominik Janzing, and Bernhard Schölkopf. 2011. “Kernel-Based Conditional Independence Test and Application in Causal Discovery.” In Proceedings of the Twenty-Seventh Conference Annual Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (Uai-11), edited by Fabio Gagliardi Cozman and Avi Pfeffer, 804–13. Corvallis, Oregon: AUAI Press.