PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Establishing causal claims in medicine

Russo and Williamson (2007) maintain that, in order to establish a causal claim in medicine, one normally needs to establish both that the putative cause and putative effect are appropriately correlated and that there is some underlying mechanism that can account for this correlation. I argue that, although this thesis conflicts with the tenets of contemporary evidence-based medicine (EBM), it offers a better causal epistemology than that provided by EBM because it better explains two key aspects of causal discovery. First, it better explains the role of clinical trials in establishing causal claims. Second, it provides a better account of the logic of extrapolation.

Author Information:

Jon Williamson    
University of Kent


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