EnviroGenomarkers: the interplay between mechanisms and difference making in establishing causal claims

Russo, F. and Williamson, J. (2012) EnviroGenomarkers: the interplay between mechanisms and difference making in establishing causal claims. Medicine Studies, 3 (4). pp. 249-262. ISSN 1876-4533. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12376-012-0079-7

Abstract

According to Russo and Williamson (2007, 2011a,b), in order to establish a causal claim of the form `C is a cause of E', one needs evidence that there is an underlying mechanism between C and E as well as evidence that C makes a difference to E. This thesis has been used to argue that hierarchies of evidence, as championed by evidence-based movements, tend to give primacy to evidence of difference making over evidence of mechanism, and are flawed because the two sorts of evidence are required and they should be treated on a par. An alternative approach gives primacy to evidence of mechanism over evidence of difference making. In this paper we argue that this alternative approach is equally flawed, again because both sorts of evidence need to be treated on a par. As an illustration of this parity we explain how scientists working in the `EnviroGenomarkers' project constantly make use of the two evidential components in a dynamic and intertwined way. We argue that such an interplay is needed not only for causal assessment but also for policy purposes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Causality Disease causation Public health policy Mechanisms Russo–Williamson thesis Biomarkers
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BC Logic
Q Science
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Philosophy
Depositing User: Jon Williamson
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2012 16:25
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2013 08:24
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/32198 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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