Reflecting on what philosophy of epidemiology is and does, as the field comes into its own: Introduction to the Special Issue on Philosophy of Epidemiology

Synthese 198 (Suppl 10):2383-2392 (2019)


This article is an introduction to the Synthese Special Issue, Philosophy of Epidemiology. The overall goals of the issue are to revisit the state of philosophy of epidemiology and to provide a forum for new voices, approaches, and perspectives in the philosophy of epidemiology literature. The introduction begins by drawing on Geoffrey Rose’s work on how to conceptualize and design interventions for populations, rather than individuals. It then goes on to highlight some themes that emerged in the articles that make up the issue: philosophy of epidemiology and epidemiological theory—what they are and what they ought to be, pluralism in measurement and causal attribution, epistemic and non-epistemic values in disputes epidemiological practices, decentering philosophy of epidemiology’s Eurocentrism, letting pragmatism guide uses of big data in epidemiology, and revisiting the lessons of classic texts in epidemiological causal inference. The introduction concludes with comments on a philosophy of epidemiology debate we see on, regarding the politics of philosophy of epidemiology.

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Author Profiles

Sean A. Valles
Michigan State University
Jonathan Kaplan
Oregon State University

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Citations of this work

Sins of Inquiry: How to Criticize Scientific Pursuits.Marina DiMarco & Kareem Khalifa - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 92:86-96.
Software engineering standards for epidemiological models.Jack K. Horner & John F. Symons - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (4):1-24.

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