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Epistemic Causality and Evidence-Based Medicine

Russo, Federica and Williamson, Jon (2010) Epistemic Causality and Evidence-Based Medicine. [Preprint]

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    Causal claims in biomedical contexts are ubiquitous albeit that they are not always made explicit. This paper addresses the question of what causal claims mean in the context of disease. It is argued that in medical contexts causality ought to be interpreted according to the epistemic theory. According to this approach, causal claims tell us about which inferences (e.g., diagnoses and prognoses) are appropriate, rather than about the presence of some physical causal relation analogous to distance or gravitational attraction. It is shown that the epistemic theory has im- portant consequences for medical practice, in particular with regard to the evidence-based causal assessment.

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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Bradford Hill; Causation; Difference-making; Evidence-based medicine; Epistemic theory; Mechanisms
    Subjects: General Issues > Causation
    Depositing User: Federica Russo
    Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2010 11:46
    Last Modified: 26 Oct 2010 11:46
    Item ID: 8351

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