Chapter 9: Are There Rival Causes
A rival cause is a plausible alternative explanation that can explain why a certain outcome
Indicators of causal relations
o X leads to..
o X influences..
o X is linked to..
o X deters..
o X increases the likelihood..
o X determines..
o X is associated with..
o X has the effect of..
Detecting rival causes can help us better react to causal conclusions encountered in..
o A) our everyday personal relationships
o B) past or ongoing world events
o C) results of research studies
Many kinds of events are open to explanation by rival causes
Experts can examine the same evidence and discover different causes to explain it
Most communicators will provide you with only their favoured causes; the critical reader or
listener must generate rival causes
Generating rival causes is a creative process; usually, such causes will not be obvious
The certainty of a particular causal claim is inversely related to the number of plausible rival
causes. Hence, identifying the multiple rival causes gives the critical thinker the proper sense of
Detecting rival causes
o Can I think of any other way to interpret the evidence?
o What else might have caused th