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Why microbes, not microbiomes, are better causal explanations in gut-brain research

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 July 2019

Kate E. Lynch*
Department of Philosophy, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, New South Wales 2006, Australia.


Much microbiota-gut-brain research focuses on the causal role of microbiomes as a whole, rather than their component parts: microbes. Hooks et al. find these whole-community explanations inadequate; however, they do not provide suggestions for better explanations. By appealing to proportionality – a criterion that can be used to develop more appropriate causal explanations – more accurate causal claims can be made.

Open Peer Commentary
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019 

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