Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 345–353

Epidemiology and causation

Scientific Contribution

Abstract

Epidemiologists’ discussions on causation are not always very enlightening with regard to the notion of ‘cause’ in epidemiology. Epidemiologists rightly work from a science-based approach to causation in epidemiology, but largely disagree about the matter. Disagreement may be partly due to confusion of the question of useful concepts for causal inference in epidemiological practice with the question of the metaphysical presuppositions of causal concepts used in epidemiology. In other words, epidemiologists seem to confuse the practical results of epidemiological research at the population level with the metaphysical views about the reality of disease causation at the individual level in their writings on causation.

Keywords

Causality Causal concepts underlying scientific practice Epidemiology Epidemiologists’ debate on causation Metaphysical presuppositions of causal concepts Science-based approach to causation 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Logic and Philosophy of ScienceGhent University (UGent)GhentBelgium

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