On 'Stabilising' medical mechanisms, truth-makers and epistemic causality: a critique to Williamson and Russo's approach
Synthese 187 (2):785-800 (2012)
In this paper I offer an anti-Humean critique to Williamson and Russo’s approach to medical mechanisms. I focus on one of the specific claims made by Williamson and Russo, namely the claim that micro-structural ‘mechanisms’ provide evidence for the stability across populations of causal relationships ascertained at the (macro-) level of (test) populations. This claim is grounded in the epistemic account of causality developed by Williamson, an account which—while not relying exclusively on mechanistic evidence for justifying causal judgements—appeals nevertheless to mechanisms, and rejects their anti-Humean interpretation in terms of capacities, powers, potencies, etc. By using (and expanding on) Cartwright’s basic critique against Humean mechanisms, I suggest that, in order to move beyond the level of plausibility, Williamson and Russo’s position is in need of a clarification as to the occurent reading of the components, functioning and interferences of mechanisms. Relatedly, as concerns Williamson’s epistemic account of causation, I argue that this account is in need of a more straightforward answer as to what truth-makers its causal claims should have.
|Keywords||Causation Medical causes Anti-Humeanism Capacity Cartwright Williamson Russo|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter K. Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.
Citations of this work BETA
Mechanisms and the Evidence Hierarchy.Brendan Clarke, Donald Gillies, Phyllis Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson - 2014 - Topoi 33 (2):339-360.
On Anti Humeanism and Medical Singular Causation.Stefan Dragulinescu - 2012 - Acta Analytica 27 (3):265-292.
Similar books and articles
Mechanistic Evidence: Disambiguating the Russo–Williamson Thesis.Phyllis McKay Illari - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (2):139 - 157.
EnviroGenomarkers: The Interplay Between Mechanisms and Difference Making in Establishing Causal Claims.Federica Russo & Jon Williamson - 2012 - Medicine Studies 3 (4):249-262.
Interpreting Causality in the Health Sciences.Federica Russo & Jon Williamson - 2007 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (2):157 – 170.
How Probabilistic Causation Can Account for the Use of Mechanistic Evidence.Erik Weber - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (3):277-295.
Causality in Medicine with Particular Reference to the Viral Causation of Cancers.Brendan Clarke - 2011 - Dissertation, University College London
Probabilistic Theories of Causality.Jon Williamson - 2009 - In Helen Beebee, Peter Menzies & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Causation. Oxford University Press. pp. 185--212.
Mechanisms Are Real and Local.Phyllis McKay Illari & Jon Williamson - 2011 - In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press.
Variational Causal Claims in Epidemiology.Federica Russo - 2009 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 52 (4):540-554.
Models for Prediction, Explanation and Control.Lorenzo Casini, Phyllis Mckay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson - 2011 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 26 (1):5-33.
Added to index2011-10-18
Total downloads57 ( #93,248 of 2,178,189 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #316,497 of 2,178,189 )
How can I increase my downloads?