9780230355125

Philosophy of Epidemiology

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780230355125

  • ISBN10:

    0230355129

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-06-11
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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Summary

Epidemiology, the study of population health by means of group comparisons, is of increasing importance to health policy and medicine, but it has never before received sustained philosophical attention. This book is the first comprehensive philosophical treatment of the science of epidemiology, drawing together material on causation, causal inference, prediction, the interpretation of effect measures, the nature of disease, and legal uses of epidemiological evidence. Old philosophical problems are seen from new angles, especially general causation, causal explanation, and the use of causal knowledge to predict. The conceptual development of epidemiology is invigorated by a critical examination of foundational doctrines. Causal inference, interaction, the interpretation of measures of attributability, risk relativism, and the notion of multifactorial disease are all scrutinized. The attempted use of epidemiological evidence in legal context is also analyzed, along with the philosophical problems it throws up. This book is essential reading for any professional or lay reader with an interest in understanding the conceptual and methodological foundations of epidemiology, as well as its difficulties.

Author Biography

Alex Broadbent is an Associate Professor at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Formerly he lectured and studied at the University of Cambridge. He is devoted to bringing philosophical reasoning to bear on practical problems, and has published in philosophy, epidemiology and legal theory journals.

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Glossary
1. Why Philosophy of Epidemiology?
2. Philosophical and Epidemiological Basics
3. The Causal Interpretation Problem
4. Causal Inference, Translation, and Stability
5. Stable Causal Inference
6. Prediction
7. Making and Assessing Epidemiological Predictions
8. Puzzles of Attributability
9. Risk Relativism, Interaction, and the Shadow of Physics
10. Multifactorialism and Beyond
11. Epidemiology and the Law
12. Conclusion: Thinking is Good For You
Notes
Cases
References
Index

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