Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxii
  2. Philosophical Framework

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Rani Lill Anjum, Samantha Copeland, Elena Rocca
      Pages 3-11 Open Access
    3. Rani Lill Anjum
      Pages 13-36 Open Access
    4. Elena Rocca
      Pages 37-54 Open Access
    5. Rani Lill Anjum, Elena Rocca
      Pages 55-74 Open Access
    6. Elena Rocca, Rani Lill Anjum
      Pages 75-94 Open Access
    7. Samantha Copeland
      Pages 95-110 Open Access
  3. Application to the Clinic

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 111-111
    2. Christine Price
      Pages 113-126 Open Access
    3. Ivor Ralph Edwards
      Pages 137-148 Open Access
    4. Karin Mohn Engebretsen
      Pages 167-178 Open Access
    5. Roger Kerry
      Pages 201-213 Open Access
    6. Brian Broom
      Pages 215-226 Open Access
    7. Anna Luise Kirkengen
      Pages 227-236 Open Access
    8. Rani Lill Anjum, Samantha Copeland, Elena Rocca
      Pages 237-241 Open Access

About this book


This open access book is a unique resource for health professionals who are interested in understanding the philosophical foundations of their daily practice. It provides tools for untangling the motivations and rationality behind the way medicine and healthcare is studied, evaluated and practiced. In particular, it illustrates the impact that thinking about causation, complexity and evidence has on the clinical encounter. The book shows how medicine is grounded in philosophical assumptions that could at least be challenged. By engaging with ideas that have shaped the medical profession, clinicians are empowered to actively take part in setting the premises for their own practice and knowledge development. Written in an engaging and accessible style, with contributions from experienced clinicians, this book presents a new philosophical framework that takes causal complexity, individual variation and medical uniqueness as default expectations for health and illness.


Person centred practice Evidence based practice CauseHealth the Biomedical Model Shared Decision Making Clinical Encounter

Editors and affiliations

  • Rani Lill Anjum
    • 1
  • Samantha Copeland
    • 2
  • Elena Rocca
    • 3
  1. 1.NMBU Centre for Applied Philosophy of ScienceNorwegian University of Life SciencesÅsNorway
  2. 2.Ethics and Philosophy of Technology SectionDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  3. 3.NMBU Centre for Applied Philosophy of ScienceNorwegian University of Life SciencesÅsNorway

About the editors

Rani Lill Anjum is Researcher in Philosophy and Principal Investigator of CauseHealth at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). She leads the NMBU Centre for Applied Philosophy of Science together with Elena Rocca, where she works on the philosophical foundations of science with focus on causality, probability and dispositions. Anjum has written four books with Stephen Mumford: Getting Causes from Powers, Causation – A Very Short Introduction and Causation in Science and the Methods of Scientific Discovery, published with Oxford University Press, and What Tends to Be. The Philosophy of Dispositional Modality with Routledge.

Samantha Copeland is Assistant Professor in the Ethics and Philosophy of Technology section at Delft University of Technology. She was a postdoctoral fellow with the CauseHealth project and is on the editorial board for the annual philosophy thematic of the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. Copeland has published on the ethics of addressing unexpected results in clinical research that involves human subjects, including ‘The case of the triggered memory: serendipitous discovery and the ethics of clinical research’ and ‘Unexpected findings and promoting monocausal claims, a cautionary tale’. She is also co-author of ‘Pharmacovigilance as scientific discovery: an argument for trans-disciplinarity’, written with Ralph Edwards and Elena Rocca.


Elena Rocca is an interdisciplinary Researcher with background in pharmacy, biology and theory of science at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). She is Principal Investigator of the project CauseHealth Risk and Safety and leads the Centre of Applied Philosophy of Science with Rani Anjum. She is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine. Rocca is interested in the role of philosophical bias in the production and evaluation of evidence. She is author of ‘The evidence that evidence based medicine adopts’, ‘Bridging the boundary between scientists and clinicians’, and co-author of ‘Real or ideal risk? Philosophy of causation meets risk analysis’ with Rani Anjum.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Rethinking Causality, Complexity and Evidence for the Unique Patient
  • Book Subtitle A CauseHealth Resource for Healthcare Professionals and the Clinical Encounter
  • Editors Rani Lill Anjum
    Samantha Copeland
    Elena Rocca
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020
  • License CC BY
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-41238-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-41241-8
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-41239-5
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXII, 241
  • Number of Illustrations 21 b/w illustrations, 9 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Bioethics
    Theory of Medicine/Bioethics
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“This is a book for academic thinkers and practitioners of medicine. … This is an interesting monograph that outlines the needs of patients who cannot find a cause for their symptoms.” (Vincent F Carr, Doody's Book Reviews, October 16, 2020)