Acta Biotheoretica 64 (3):241-262 (2016)

Michaelis Michael
University of New South Wales
Changes in the methodology of the historical sciences make them more vulnerable to unjustifiable speculations being passed off as scientific results. The integrity of historical science is in peril due the way speculative and often unexamined causal assumptions are being used to generate data and underpin the identification of correlations in such data. A step toward a solution is to distinguish between plausible and speculative assumptions that facilitate the inference from measured and observed data to causal claims. One way to do that is by comparing these assumptions against a well-attested set of aspects of causation, such as the so-called “Bradford Hill Criteria”. The BHC do not provide a test for causation or necessary and sufficient conditions for causation but do indicate grounds for further investigation. By revising the BHC to reflect the needs and focus of historical sciences, it will be possible to assess the cogency of methods of investigation. These will be the Historical Sciences Bradford Hill Criteria. An application to one area in historical science is used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the HSBHC, namely biogeography. Four methods are assessed in order to show how the HSBHC can be used to examine the assumptions between our data and the causal biogeographical processes we infer.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10441-016-9282-3
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,740
External links

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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Causal Criteria and the Problem of Complex Causation.Andrew Ward - 2009 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 12 (3):333-343.
Concepts of Causation in Historiography.Anton Froeyman - 2009 - Historical Methods 42 (3):116-128.
Causation in the Social Sciences: Evidence, Inference, and Purpose.Julian Reiss - 2009 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (1):20-40.
Testing Times: Regularities in the Historical Sciences.Ben Jeffares - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 39 (4):469-475.
Testing Times: Confirmation in the Historical Sciences.Ben Jeffares - 2008 - Dissertation, Australian National University
The Causal Nature of Modeling with Big Data.Wolfgang Pietsch - 2016 - Philosophy and Technology 29 (2):137-171.
Metaphysics and Mental Causation.Lynne Rudder Baker - 1993 - In John Heil & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), Mental Causation. Oxford University Press. pp. 75-96.
Rethinking Anscombe on Causation.Thomas M. Osborne Jr - 2007 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 81 (1):89-107.


Added to PP index

Total views
18 ( #594,862 of 2,462,866 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,387 of 2,462,866 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes