Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 211–232 | Cite as

Inference to the best explanation and mechanisms in medicine

Article

Abstract

This article considers the prospects of inference to the best explanation (IBE) as a method of confirming causal claims vis-à-vis the medical evidence of mechanisms. I show that IBE is actually descriptive of how scientists reason when choosing among hypotheses, that it is amenable to the balance/weight distinction, a pivotal pair of concepts in the philosophy of evidence, and that it can do justice to interesting features of the interplay between mechanistic and population level assessments.

Keywords

Inference to the best explanation Mechanisms Evidence Confirmation Causation Extrapolation Weight and balance 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy Department, School of European Culture and LanguagesUniversity of KentCanterburyUK

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