David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 52 (4):540-554 (2009)
The paper examines definitions of ‘cause’ in the epidemiological literature. Those definitions all describe causes as factors that make a difference to the distribution of disease or to individual health status. In the philosophical jargon, causes in epidemiology are difference-makers. Two claims are defended. First, it is argued that those definitions underpin an epistemology and a methodology that hinge upon the notion of variation, contra the dominant Humean paradigm according to which we infer causality from regularity. Second, despite the fact that causes be defined in terms of ‘difference-making’, this cannot fixes the causal metaphysics. Causality in epidemiology ought to be interpreted according to the epistemic theory. In this approach relations are deemed causal depending on the evidence and on the available methods. Indeed, evidence to establish causal claims requires difference-making considerations; furthermore, those definitions of cause reflect the ‘variational’ epistemology and methodology of epidemiology.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Federica Russo (2012). Public Health Policy, Evidence, and Causation: Lessons From the Studies on Obesity. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 15 (2):141-151.
Similar books and articles
Stefan Dragulinescu (2012). On 'Stabilising' Medical Mechanisms, Truth-Makers and Epistemic Causality: A Critique to Williamson and Russo's Approach. Synthese 187 (2):785-800.
Daniel Murray Hausman (2005). Causal Relata: Tokens, Types, or Variables? [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 63 (1):33 - 54.
Paolo Vineis (1991). Causality Assessment in Epidemiology. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 12 (2).
Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (2007). Interpreting Causality in the Health Sciences. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (2):157 – 170.
Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.) (2011). Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press.
Sridhar Venkatapuram (2009). A Bird's Eye View. Two Topics at the Intersection of Social Determinants of Health and Social Justice Philosophy. Public Health Ethics 2 (3):224-234.
Alex Broadbent (2011). Inferring Causation in Epidemiology: Mechanisms, Black Boxes, and Contrasts. In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press. 45--69.
Added to index2009-04-28
Total downloads16 ( #120,206 of 1,692,423 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #184,284 of 1,692,423 )
How can I increase my downloads?