What is a genetic cause? The example of Alzheimer’s Disease


Abstract
This paper focuses on the causation of diseases, particularly on the idea of a “genetic cause” taking Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) as an example. We (1) provide some historical information and a synopsis of the current knowledge on the etiology and pathogenesis of AD, (2) analyse some conceptual problems related to the notion of “genetic disease” (3) elaborate on the alleged (genetic) cause of AD, and (4) place the discussion on the cause of AD in a broader philosophical context, paying attention to a constructivist perspective, the notions of causal connection and causal selection, and to some practical and normative consequences of our analysis. We conclude (a) that AD is not a specific disease entity with one specific cause, (b) that the idea of a single (sufficient) cause can still function as a heuristic tool in AD research and practice, and (c) that a “belief” in causation can go together with the notions of multicausality and probability
Keywords Alzheimer’s Disease  causation  genetics  neuropathology
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DOI 10.1007/s11019-006-9005-7
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References found in this work BETA

Causality in Complex Systems.Andreas Wagner - 1999 - Biology and Philosophy 14 (1):83-101.
A Disease by Any Other Name: Musings on the Concept of a Genetic Disease.Kelly C. Smith - 2001 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 4 (1):19-30.
Ethics and Alzheimer's Disease: Widening the Lens.Martha B. Holstein - 1998 - Journal of Clinical Ethics 9 (1):13.
A Return to Biological Thinking in Medicine.Henrik R. Wulff - 2001 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 4 (1):1-3.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Indispensability Arguments in Favour of Reductive Explanations.Jeroen Van Bouwel, Erik Weber & Leen De Vreese - 2011 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (1):33-46.
Indispensability Arguments in Favour of Reductive Explanations.Jeroen Van Bouwel, Erik Weber & Leen De Vreese - 2011 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (1):33-46.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

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