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Profile: Alex Broadbent (University of Johannesburg)
  1. Alex Broadbent (forthcoming). Causation and Prediction in Epidemiology: A Guide to the “Methodological Revolution. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences.
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  2. Jeremy R. Simon, Alex Broadbent & Fred Gifford (2015). Beyond Bioethics: The 5th International Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 36 (1):1-5.
    We are pleased to once again present to the readers of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics papers from the Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable. Previous issues have followed the 3rd and 4th Roundtables, and the current issue presents a selection from the more than 20 papers presented at the 5th Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable, which took place in New York, at Columbia University, in November 2013. Like its predecessors, held in Birmingham, AL, Rotterdam, and San Sebastian, this Roundtable attracted speakers from around (...)
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  3. Michael Vlerick & Alex Broadbent (2015). Evolution and Epistemic Justification. Dialectica 69 (2):185-203.
    According to the evolutionary sceptic, the fact that our cognitive faculties evolved radically undermines their reliability. A number of evolutionary epistemologists have sought to refute this kind of scepticism. This paper accepts the success of these attempts, yet argues that refuting the evolutionary sceptic is not enough to put any particular domain of beliefs – notably scientific beliefs, which include belief in Darwinian evolution – on a firm footing. The paper thus sets out to contribute to this positive justificatory project, (...)
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  4. Alex Broadbent (2013). Book Review Jeremy Howick , The Philosophy of Evidence-Based Medicine . Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell (2011), 248 Pp., $61.95 (Paper). [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 80 (1):165-168.
  5. Alex Broadbent (2013). Explanation and Responsibility. In Markus Stepanians & Benedikt Kahmen (eds.), Critical Essays on "Causation and Responsibility". De Gruyter 239-252.
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  6. Alex Broadbent (2012). Causes of Causes. Philosophical Studies 158 (3):457-476.
    When is a cause of a cause of an effect also a cause of that effect? The right answer is either Sometimes or Always . In favour of Always , transitivity is considered by some to be necessary for distinguishing causes from redundant non-causal events. Moreover transitivity may be motivated by an interest in an unselective notion of causation, untroubled by principles of invidious discrimination. And causal relations appear to add up like transitive relations, so that the obtaining of the (...)
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  7. Alex Broadbent (2011). Defining Neglected Disease. Biosocieties 6 (1):51-70.
    In this article I seek to say what it is for something to count as a neglected disease. I argue that neglect should be defined in terms of efforts at prevention, mitigation and cure, and not solely in terms of research dollars per disability-adjusted life-year. I further argue that the trend towards multifactorialism and risk factor thinking in modern epidemiology has lent credibility to the erroneous view that the primary problem with neglected diseases is a lack of research. A more (...)
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  8. Alex Broadbent (2011). Epidemiological Evidence in Proof of Specific Causation. Legal Theory 17 (4):237-278.
    This paper seeks to determine the significance, if any, of epidemiological evidence to prove the specific causation element of liability in negligence or other relevant torts—in particular, what importance can be attached to a relative risk > 2, where that figure represents a sound causal inference at the general level. The paper discusses increased risk approaches to epidemiological evidence and concludes that they are a last resort. The paper also criticizes the proposal that the probability of causation can be estimated (...)
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  9. 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.
    This chapter explores the idea that causal inference is warranted if and only if the mechanism underlying the inferred causal association is identified. This mechanistic stance is discernible in the epidemiological literature, and in the strategies adopted by epidemiologists seeking to establish causal hypotheses. But the exact opposite methodology is also discernible, the black box stance, which asserts that epidemiologists can and should make causal inferences on the basis of their evidence, without worrying about the mechanisms that might underlie their (...)
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  10. Alex Broadbent (2011). Moore , Michael S. Causation and Responsibility: An Essay in Law, Morals, and Metaphysics .Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. 605. $50.00 (Paper). [REVIEW] Ethics 121 (3):669-674.
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  11. Alex Broadbent (2009). Causation and Models of Disease in Epidemiology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 40 (4):302-311.
    Nineteenth-century medical advances were entwined with a conceptual innovation: the idea that many cases of disease which were previously thought to have diverse causes could be explained by the action of a single kind of cause, for example a certain bacterial or parasitic infestation. The focus of modern epidemiology, however, is on chronic non-communicable diseases, which frequently do not seem to be attributable to any single causal factor. This paper is an effort to resolve the resulting tension. The paper criticises (...)
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  12. Alex Broadbent (2009). Fact and Law in the Causal Inquiry. Legal Theory 15 (3):173-191.
    This paper takes it as a premise that a distinction between matters of fact and of law is important in the causal inquiry. But it argues that separating factual and legal causation as different elements of liability is not the best way to implement the fact/law distinction. What counts as a cause-in-fact is partly a legal question; and certain liability-limiting doctrines under the umbrella of “legal causation” depend on the application of factual-causal concepts. The contrastive account of factual causation proposed (...)
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  13. Alex Broadbent (2008). The Difference Between Cause and Condition. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1pt3):355-364.
    Commonly we distinguish the strike of a match, as a cause of the match lighting, from the presence of oxygen, as a mere condition. In this paper I propose an account of this phenomenon, which I call causal selection. I suggest some reasons for taking causal selection seriously, and indicate some shortcomings of the popular contrastive approach. Chief among these is the lack of an account of contrast choice. I propose that contrast choice is often just the counterfactual scenario in (...)
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  14. Alex Broadbent (2007). A Reverse Counterfactual Analysis of Causation. Dissertation, University of Cambridge
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  15. Alex Broadbent (2007). Reversing the Counterfactual Analysis of Causation. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 15 (2):169 – 189.
    The counterfactual analysis of causation has focused on one particular counterfactual conditional, taking as its starting-point the suggestion that C causes E iff (C E). In this paper, some consequences are explored of reversing this counterfactual, and developing an account starting with the idea that C causes E iff (E C). This suggestion is discussed in relation to the problem of pre-emption. It is found that the 'reversed' counterfactual analysis can handle even the most difficult cases of pre-emption with only (...)
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  16. Alex Broadbent, The New Riddle of Causation.
    We commonly distinguish causes from mere conditions, for example by saying that the strike caused the match to light but by failing to mention the presence of oxygen. Philosophers from Mill to Lewis have dismissed this common practice as irrelevant to the philosophical analysis of causation. In this paper, however, I argue that causal selection poses a puzzle of just the same form as Hume's sceptical challenge to the notion of necessary connection. I then propose a solution in terms of (...)
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