Scientific Coherence and the Fusion of Experimental Results

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    A pervasive feature of the sciences, particularly the applied sciences, is an experimental focus on a few (often only one) possible causal connections. At the same time, scientists often advance and apply relatively broad models that incorporate many different causal mechanisms. We are naturally led to ask whether there are normative rules for integrating multiple local experimental conclusions into models covering many additional variables. In this paper, we provide a positive answer to this question by developing several inference rules that use local causal models to place constraints on the integrated model, given quite general assumptions. We also demonstrate the practical value of these rules by applying them to a case study from ecology.