Causation in Evidence-Based Medicine: In reply to Strand and Parkkinen
AuthorKerry, Roger; Eriksen, Thor Eirik; Lie, Svein Anders Noer; Mumford, Stephen; Anjum, Rani Lill
Strand and Parkkinen criticize our dispositional account of causation in evidence-based medicine for failing to provide a proper epistemology of causal knowledge. In particular, they claim that we do not explain how causal inferences should be drawn. In response, we point out that dispositionalism does indeed have an account of the epistemology of causation, including counterfactual dependence, intervention, prediction and clinical decision. Furthermore, we argue that this is an epistemology that fits better with the known fallibility of even our best-informed predictions. Predictions are made on the basis that causes dispose or tend towards their effects, rather than guarantee them. The ontology of causation remains a valuable study for, among other reasons, it tells us that powers do not always combine additively. This counts against the monocausality that is tested by randomized controlled trials.
Published version available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jep.12189