Skip to main content
×
×
Home

MEDICAL MECHANISMS AND THE RESILIENCE OF PROBABILITIES

  • Stefan Dragulinescu
Abstract

This paper argues that there is an important connection between Inference to the Best Explanation and Bayesianism, in the medical context of the interplay between mechanisms and population studies. It is argued that the criteria for evaluating mechanistic evidence can be used in Inference to the Best Explanation and such use thereby increases the resilience of probabilities in a Bayesian framework. This point grows out of the emerging literature on evidence-based medicine and naturally strengthens McCain and Poston's proposal that explanatory information is evidentially relevant.

Copyright
Corresponding author
References
Hide All
Ashby, D. and Smith, A. 2000. ‘Evidence-based Medicine as Bayesian Decision-making.’ Statistics in Medicine, 19(23): 3291–305.
Bechtel, W. and Abrahamsen, A. 2005. ‘Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.’ Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 36(2): 421–41.
Bechtel, W. and Abrahamsen, A. 2011. ‘Complex Biological Mechanisms: Cyclic, Oscillatory, and Autonomous.’ In Hooker, C. A. (ed.), Philosophy of Complex Systems. Handbook of the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 10. New York, NY: Elsevier.
Bird, A. 2010. ‘Eliminative Abduction – Examples from Medicine.’ Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 4: 345–52.
Bird, A. 2011. ‘The Epistemological Function of Hill's Criteria.’ Preventive Medicine, 53: 8596.
Cartwright, N. 1999. The Dappled World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Clarke, B., Gillies, D., Illari, P., Russo, F. and Williamson, J. 2014a. ‘Mechanisms and the Evidence Hierarchy.’ Topoi, 33(2): 339–60.
Clarke, B., Leuridan, B. & Williamson, J. 2014b. ‘Modelling Mechanisms with Causal Cycles.’ Synthese, 191(8): 1651–81.
Dragulinescu, S. 2012. ‘On ‘Stabilising’ Medical Mechanisms, Truth-makers and Epistemic Causality: A Critique to Williamson and Russo's Approach.’ Synthese, 187(2): 785800.
Dragulinescu, S. 2016. ‘Inference to the Best Explanation and Mechanisms in Medicine.’ Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 37: 211–32.
Dragulinescu, S. 2017. ‘Inference to the Best Explanation as a Theory for the Quality of Mechanistic Evidence in Medicine.’ European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 7(2): 353–72.
Endo, A. 2010. ‘A Historical Perspective on the Discovery of Statins.’ Proceedings of the Japan Academy. Series B, Physical and Biological Sciences, 86(5): 484–93.
Folke, C. 2006. ‘Resilience: The Emergence of a Perspective for Social-Ecological Systems Analysis.’ Global Environmental Change, 16: 253–67.
Glass, D. 2012. ‘Inference to the Best Explanation: Does it Track Truth?Synthese, 185: 411–27.
Illari, P. 2011. ‘Mechanistic Evidence: Disambiguating the Russo-Williamson Thesis.’ International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 25: 139–57.
Iranzo, V. 2008. ‘Bayesianism and Inference to the Best Explanation.’ Theoria, 23(1): 89106.
Joyce, J. 2005. ‘How Probabilities Reflect Evidence.’ Philosophical Perspectives, 19(1): 153–78.
Kelly, T. 2008. ‘Evidence: Fundamental Concepts and the Phenomenal Conception.’ Philosophy Compass, 3(5): 933–55.
Leitgeb, H. 2014. ‘The Stability Theory of Belief.’ Philosophical Review, 123(2): 131–71.
Leitgeb, H. 2017. The Stability of Belief. How Rational Belief Coheres with Probability. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lipton, P. 2001. ‘Is Explanation a Guide to Inference? A reply to Wesley C. Salmon.’ In Hon, G. and Rakover, S. (eds), Explanation, Theoretical Approaches and Applications, pp. 93120. Dordrecht: Springer.
Lipton, P. 2004. Inference to the Best Explanation (Second edition). London: Routledge.
McCain, K. and Poston, T. 2014. ‘Why Explanatoriness is Evidentially Relevant.’ Thought, 3(2): 145–53.
Mellor, H. 1983. ‘Review of Brian Skyrms ‘Causal Necessity: a Pragmatic Investigation of the Necessity of Laws. New Haven: Yale University, 1980.’ British Journal of Philosophy of Science, 34(1): 97104.
Niiniluoto, I. 1999. ‘Defending Abduction.’ Philosophy of Science, 66: S436S451.
Okasha, S. 2000. ‘Van Fraassen's Critique of Inference to the Best Explanation.’ Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 31 (4): 691710.
Ravnskov, U. 2002. ‘Is Atherosclerosis Caused by High Cholesterol?QJM, 95(6): 397403.
Ravnskov, U., Diamond, D. M., Hama, R., Hamazaki, T., Hammarskjöld, B., Hynes, N. et al. 2016. ‘Lack of an Association or an Inverse Association Between Low-density-lipoprotein Cholesterol and Mortality in the Elderly: A Systematic Review.’ BMJ Open, 6 (6): e010401.
Roche, W. and Sober, E. 2013. ‘Explanatoriness is Evidentially Irrelevant, or Inference to The Best Explanation Meets Bayesian Confirmation Theory.’ Analysis, 73: 659–68.
Romeijn, J.-M. 2013. ‘Abducted by Bayesians?Journal of Applied Logic, 11(4): 430–9.
Russo, F. and Williamson, J. 2007. ‘Interpreting Causality in the Health Sciences.’ International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 21(2): 157–70.
Salmon, W. 2001. ‘Reflections of a Bashful Bayesian: A Reply to Peter Lipton.’ In Hon, G. and Rakover, S. (eds), Explanation, Theoretical Approaches and Applications, pp. 121–36. Dordrecht: Springer.
Skyrms, B. 1977. ‘Resiliency, Propensities, and Causal Necessity.’ Journal of Philosophy, 74(11): 704–13.
Skyrms, B. 1980. Causal Necessity: A Pragmatic Investigation of the Necessity of Laws. New Haven, CT: Yale University.
Steinberg, D. 2005a. ‘An Interpretive History of the Cholesterol Controversy, Part II: The Early Evidence Linking Hypercholesterolemia to Coronary Disease in Humans.’ Journal of Lipid Research, 46: 179–90.
Steinberg, D. 2005b. ‘An Interpretive History of the Cholesterol Controversy, Part III: Mechanistically Defining the Role of Hyperlipidemia.’ Journal of Lipid Research, 46: 2037–51.
Van Fraassen, B. C. 1989. Laws and Symmetry. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Weisberg, J. 2009. ‘Locating IBE in the Bayesian Framework.’ Synthese, 167: 125–43.
Wilde, M. and Williamson, J. 2016. ‘Evidence and Epistemic Causality.’ In Wiedermann, W. and von Eye, A. (eds), Statistics and Causality: Methods for Applied Empirical Research, pp. 3141. Chichester: Wiley.
Williamson, J. 2011. ‘Mechanistic Theories of Causality.’ Philosophy Compass, 6: 421–32.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Episteme
  • ISSN: 1742-3600
  • EISSN: 1750-0117
  • URL: /core/journals/episteme
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed