Causality assessment in epidemiology

Epidemiology relies upon a broad interpretation of determinism. This paper discusses analogies with the evolution of the concept of cause in physics, and analyzes the classical nine criteria proposed by Sir Austin Bradford Hill for causal assessment. Such criteria fall into the categories of enumerative induction, eliminative induction, deduction and analogy. All of these four categories are necessary for causal assessment and there is no natural hierarchy among them, although a deductive analysis of the study design is preliminary to any assessment.
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