Medford, Massachusetts, United States of America
  •  325
    Perinatal Brain Damage Causation
    Developmental Neuroscience 29. 2007.
    The search for causes of perinatal brain damage needs a solid theoretical foundation. Current theory apparently does not offer a unanimously accepted view of what constitutes a cause, and how it can be identified. We discuss nine potential theoretical misconceptions: (1) too narrow a view of what is a cause (causal production vs. facilitation), (2) extrapolating from possibility to fact (potential vs. factual causation), (3) if X, then invariably Y (determinism vs. probabilism), (4) co-occurrenc…Read more
  •  241
    Bradford Hill (1965) highlighted nine aspects of the complex evidential situation a medical researcher faces when determining whether a causal relation exists between a disease and various conditions associated with it. These aspects are widely cited in the literature on epidemiological inference as justifying an inference to a causal claim, but the epistemological basis of the Hill aspects is not understood. We offer an explanatory coherentist interpretation, explicated by Thagard's ECHO model …Read more
  •  102
    Dieser Aufsatz beschreibt und erörtert fünf Aspekte der gegenwärtigen Wissenschaft: Verfahren, Zwiespalt, Schweigen, Hoffnung, und Probieren.
  •  21
    Causality, mosaics, and the health sciences
    Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 37 (2): 161-168. 2016.
    Thinking about illness causation has a long and rich history in medicine. After a hiatus in the 1990s, the last one-and-a-half decades have seen a surge of publications on causality in the biomedical sciences. Interestingly, this surge is visible not only in the medical, epidemiological, bioinformatics, and public health literatures, but also among philosophical publications. In this essay, I review and discuss one most recent addition to the literature, "Causality: Philosophical Theory Meets Sc…Read more
  •  16
    The Etiological Stance: Explaining Illness Occurrence
    Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 60 (2): 151-165. 2017.
    Models of illness causation play a crucial role in medicine and public health. In their recent paper on this topic, Michael Kelly, Rachel Kelly, and Federica Russo state that the integration of social, biological, and behavioral causes in one and the same etiologic mechanism remains to be clarified. In particular, they think that current models of illness causation do not appreciate "the truly integrated nature of bio-social-behavioral pathogenesis". In brief, Kelly, Kelly, and Russo suggest tha…Read more
  •  14
    Evidence, illness, and causation: An epidemiological perspective on the Russo–Williamson Thesis
    with Alexander R. Fiorentino
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 54 1-9. 2015.
    According to the Russo-Williamson Thesis, causal claims in the health sciences need to be supported by both difference-making and mechanistic evidence. In this article, we attempt to determine whether Evidence-based Medicine can be improved through the consideration of mechanistic evidence. We discuss the practical composition and function of each RWT evidence type and propose that exposure-outcome evidence provides associations that can be explained through a hypothesis of causation, while mech…Read more
  •  11
    The Essence of Authenticity
    with Katja M. Friederichs, Sabine Lebedinski, and Kerstin M. Liesenfeld
    Frontiers in Psychology 11. 2021.
    In this paper, we build upon the model of authenticity proposed by Lehman and colleagues, which includes the dimensions consistency, conformity, and connection. We expand this “3C-view” by adding a fourth dimension, continuity, which results in what we have come to call “4C-view of authenticity.” We discuss our proposal from a process perspective and emphasize that congruence might be a reasonable candidate for a concept that unifies the four dimensions of authenticity.
  •  9
    The Perfect Storm: Preterm Birth, Neurodevelopmental Mechanisms, and Autism Causation
    with Carmina Erdei
    Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 57 (4): 470-481. 2014.
    Explaining the causal mechanisms that contribute to autism spectrum disorder occurrence remains a conundrum in developmental medicine, neuroscience, and child psychiatry. Recent research has resulted in agreement on behavioral definitions and their underlying cognitive processes, early diagnosis and standardized assessments, evidence-based interventions, systems-level approaches to neurobiology, and identification of genetic variants and their interaction with epigenetic and environmental factor…Read more
  •  8
    The Epistemological Weight of Randomized-Controlled Trials Depends on Their Results
    with Ryan F. Flanagan
    Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 61 (2): 157-173. 2018.
    Biomedical research and study design have recently been examined in detail by philosophers of science, who, like biomedical researchers, are concerned with the ability to accurately represent causal relationships through scientific study and apply these relationships to improve the health of individuals and populations. Epistemology—defined by the OED as "the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion"…Read more
  •  1
    This book covers the overlap between informatics, computer science, philosophy of causation, and causal inference in epidemiology and population health research. Key concepts covered include how data are generated and interpreted, and how and why concepts in health informatics and the philosophy of science should be integrated in a systems-thinking approach. Furthermore, a formal epistemology for the health sciences and public health is suggested. Causation in Population Health Informatics and D…Read more
  • Hill's Heuristics and Explanatory Coherentism in Epidemiology
    American Journal of Epidemiology 187 (1): 1-6. 2018.
    In this essay, I argue that Ted Poston's theory of explanatory coherentism is well-suited as a tool for causal explanation in the health sciences, particularly in epidemiology. Coherence has not only played a role in epidemiology for more than half a century as one of Hill's viewpoints, it can also provide background theory for the development of explanatory systems by integrating epidemiologic evidence with a diversity of other error-independent data. I propose that computational formalization …Read more