Varieties of Causal Explanation in Medical Contexts [Paperback]

Raffaella Campaner (Author)

ISBN: 9788869772788 | Published by: Mimesis International | Series: Philosophy | Year of Publication: 2020 | Language: English 232p, H208 x W140 (mm)

Varieties of Causal Explanation in Medical Contexts


Far from being the sole mode of explaining, explanation in terms of – mostly probabilistic – causes has nourished a wide debate addressing diseases, what produces them and how. Focusing on causal explanations involves, in turn, getting deeper into conceptions of causation, modelling, and control, and presents a range of relevant issues for research and clinical contexts. The aim of the volume is two-fold. In the first place, its purpose is to stress core features, differences and interactions between various theories belonging to, on the one hand, the mechanical and neo-mechanical approach to explanation, and, on the other hand, the interventionist approach, testing their suitability in medicine. In the second place, and related to the first, a form of pluralism is advocated which is grounded on a deep analysis of specific features of explanatory contexts in the health sciences, especially in cancer and mental health studies.

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Introduction. Scientific explanation: theoretical issues and practical implications 1.1. Explananda, explanantia, and explanatory relations 1.2 Scientific explanation and explaining disease 1.3 Causal explanation, and related issues Ch. 2 Varieties of pluralism, and why they matter 2.1 What kind of pluralists are we, and why? 2.2 Philosophical pluralistic approaches and the health sciences Ch. 3 Productive causes and mechanistic explanations 3.1 Mechanisms and mechanistic explanations 3.2 Mechanisms and “the new mechanical philosophy”: what’s new? 3.3 Mechanistic evidence and disease mechanisms Ch. 4 From processes to mechanisms, and back 4.1 Processual approaches 4.2 Processes and molecular pathways Ch. 5 Mechanisms as explananda 5.1 Mechanisms, mechanistic models, and their boundaries 5.2 An example: the case of ADHD 5.3 What are we explaining? Ch. 6 Invariance and interventions 6.1 Causality, invariance and intervention: Woodward’s way to manipulationist causation 6.2 Interventionist counterfactuals Ch. 7 Interventionist explanations in the health sciences 7.1 Interventions and difference-makers in biology and medicine 7.2. Interventionism: reflections from the standpoint of the mental health sciences Ch. 8 Manipulationist causation and interventional evidence 8.1Gillies’ “action-related” theory of causality 8.2 Causative agents of rare diseases: the case of LGMD1F 8.3 Interventions and/or actions? Ch. 9 Non-causal counterfactual explanations 9.1 A counterfactual theory of causal explanation and a counterfactual theory of non-causal explanation: on Woodward’s 9.2. Counterfactual dependence, metaphysical stances and hypothetical interventions Ch. 10 A defense of a qualified pluralism 10.1 For a qualified tidy pluralism 10.2 Final remarks: Who is being pluralist?

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