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Causal Inference, Moral Intuition, and Modeling in a Pandemic

Harvard, Stephanie and Winsberg, Eric (2021) Causal Inference, Moral Intuition, and Modeling in a Pandemic. Philosophy of Medicine, 2 (2). pp. 1-10. ISSN 2692-3963

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Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, people have been eager to learn what factors, and especially what public health policies, cause infection rates to wax and wane. But figuring out conclusively what causes what is difficult in complex systems with nonlinear dynamics, such as pandemics. We review some of the challenges that scientists have faced in answering quantitative causal questions during the Covid-19 pandemic, and suggest that these challenges are a reason to augment the moral dimension of conversations about causal inference. We take a lesson from Martha Nussbaum—who cautions us not to think we have just one question on our hands when we have at least two—and apply it to modeling for causal inference in the context of cost-benefit analysis.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Medicine > Epidemiology
Depositing User: Professor Alex Broadbent
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2022 13:18
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2022 13:18
Item ID: 21189
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy of Medicine
Publisher: University Library System, University of Pittsburgh
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.5195/pom.2021.70
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Medicine > Epidemiology
Date: 17 September 2021
Page Range: pp. 1-10
Volume: 2
Number: 2
ISSN: 2692-3963

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