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Olaf Dammann
Tufts University
  1. Etiological Explanations: Illness Causation Theory.Olaf Dammann - 2020 - Boca Raton, FL, USA: CRC Press.
    Theory of illness causation is an important issue in all biomedical sciences, and solid etiological explanations are needed in order to develop therapeutic approaches in medicine and preventive interventions in public health. Until now, the literature about the theoretical underpinnings of illness causation research has been scarce and fragmented, and lacking a convenient summary. This interdisciplinary book provides a convenient and accessible distillation of the current status of research into this developing field, and adds a personal flavor to the discussion (...)
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  2. How Do Medical Researchers Make Causal Inferences?Olaf Dammann, Ted Poston & Paul Thagard - 2020 - In Kevin McCain & Kostas Kampourakis (eds.), What is scientific knowledge? An introduction to contemporary epistemology of science. London, UK: Routledge.
    Bradford Hill (1965) highlighted nine aspects of the complex evidential situation a medical researcher faces when determining whether a causal relation exists between a disease and various conditions associated with it. These aspects are widely cited in the literature on epidemiological inference as justifying an inference to a causal claim, but the epistemological basis of the Hill aspects is not understood. We offer an explanatory coherentist interpretation, explicated by Thagard's ECHO model of explanatory coherence. The ECHO model captures the complexity (...)
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  3.  16
    The Etiological Stance: Explaining Illness Occurrence.Olaf Dammann - 2017 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 60 (2):151-165.
    Models of illness causation play a crucial role in medicine and public health. In their recent paper on this topic, Michael Kelly, Rachel Kelly, and Federica Russo state that the integration of social, biological, and behavioral causes in one and the same etiologic mechanism remains to be clarified. In particular, they think that current models of illness causation do not appreciate "the truly integrated nature of bio-social-behavioral pathogenesis". In brief, Kelly, Kelly, and Russo suggest that two levels of explanation are (...)
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  4.  16
    Evidence, Illness, and Causation: An Epidemiological Perspective on the Russo–Williamson Thesis.Alexander R. Fiorentino & Olaf Dammann - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 54:1-9.
    According to the Russo-Williamson Thesis, causal claims in the health sciences need to be supported by both difference-making and mechanistic evidence. In this article, we attempt to determine whether Evidence-based Medicine can be improved through the consideration of mechanistic evidence. We discuss the practical composition and function of each RWT evidence type and propose that exposure-outcome evidence provides associations that can be explained through a hypothesis of causation, while mechanistic evidence provides finer-grained associations and knowledge of entities that ultimately explains (...)
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  5. Perinatal Brain Damage Causation.Olaf Dammann - 2007 - Developmental Neuroscience 29:280–8.
    The search for causes of perinatal brain damage needs a solid theoretical foundation. Current theory apparently does not offer a unanimously accepted view of what constitutes a cause, and how it can be identified. We discuss nine potential theoretical misconceptions: (1) too narrow a view of what is a cause (causal production vs. facilitation), (2) extrapolating from possibility to fact (potential vs. factual causation), (3) if X, then invariably Y (determinism vs. probabilism), (4) co-occurrence in individuals vs. association in populations, (...)
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  6. Risk, Predictability and Biomedical Neo-Pragmatism.Olaf Dammann - 2009 - Acta Paediatrica 98:1093–5.
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  7.  8
    The Epistemological Weight of Randomized-Controlled Trials Depends on Their Results.Ryan F. Flanagan & Olaf Dammann - 2018 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 61 (2):157-173.
    Biomedical research and study design have recently been examined in detail by philosophers of science, who, like biomedical researchers, are concerned with the ability to accurately represent causal relationships through scientific study and apply these relationships to improve the health of individuals and populations. Epistemology—defined by the OED as "the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion"—is fundamental to these concerns. In particular, philosophers of science and biomedical (...)
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  8.  22
    Causality, Mosaics, and the Health Sciences.Olaf Dammann - 2016 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 37 (2):161-168.
    Thinking about illness causation has a long and rich history in medicine. After a hiatus in the 1990s, the last one-and-a-half decades have seen a surge of publications on causality in the biomedical sciences. Interestingly, this surge is visible not only in the medical, epidemiological, bioinformatics, and public health literatures, but also among philosophical publications. In this essay, I review and discuss one most recent addition to the literature, "Causality: Philosophical Theory Meets Scientific Practice" written by philosophers Phyllis Illari and (...)
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  9.  20
    Epidemiological Explanations. [REVIEW]Olaf Dammann - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (3):509-519.
  10.  11
    The Perfect Storm: Preterm Birth, Neurodevelopmental Mechanisms, and Autism Causation.Carmina Erdei & Olaf Dammann - 2014 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 57 (4):470-481.
    Explaining the causal mechanisms that contribute to autism spectrum disorder occurrence remains a conundrum in developmental medicine, neuroscience, and child psychiatry. Recent research has resulted in agreement on behavioral definitions and their underlying cognitive processes, early diagnosis and standardized assessments, evidence-based interventions, systems-level approaches to neurobiology, and identification of genetic variants and their interaction with epigenetic and environmental factors. However, an explanatory model of autism causation remains elusive.Perhaps..
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  11.  25
    Agent-Based Models as Etio-Prognostic Explanations.Olaf Dammann - 2021 - Argumenta 7 (1):19-38.
    Agent-based models (ABMs) are one type of simulation model used in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In contrast to equation-based models, ABMs are algorithms that use individual agents and attribute changing characteristics to each one, multiple times during multiple iterations over time. This paper focuses on three philosophical aspects of ABMs as models of causal mechanisms, as generators of emergent phenomena, and as providers of explanation. Based on my discussion, I conclude that while ABMs cannot help much with causal (...)
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  12.  1
    Causation in Population Health Informatics and Data Science.Olaf Dammann & Benjamin Smart - 2018 - New York, NY, USA: Springer Verlag.
    This book covers the overlap between informatics, computer science, philosophy of causation, and causal inference in epidemiology and population health research. Key concepts covered include how data are generated and interpreted, and how and why concepts in health informatics and the philosophy of science should be integrated in a systems-thinking approach. Furthermore, a formal epistemology for the health sciences and public health is suggested. -/- Causation in Population Health Informatics and Data Science provides a detailed guide of the latest thinking (...)
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  13.  11
    Epidemiological ExplanationsAlex Broadbent, Philosophy of Epidemiology. London: Macmillan , 228 Pp., $95.00.Olaf Dammann - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (3):509-519.
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  14.  24
    Evidence Mapping to Justify Health Interventions.Olaf Dammann - 2021 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 64 (2):155-172.
    In order to support health interventions, biomedical and population health researchers need to collect solid evidence. This article asks what type of evidence this should be and expands on previous work that focused on etiological explanations, or causal-mechanical explanations of why and how illness occurs. The article proposes adding predictive evidence to the explanatory evidence, in order to form a joint evidence set, or JES = [A,B,C,D], which consists of four different types of evidence: association [A], biology [B], confirmation [C], (...)
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  15. Hill's Heuristics and Explanatory Coherentism in Epidemiology.Olaf Dammann - 2018 - American Journal of Epidemiology 187 (1):1-6.
    In this essay, I argue that Ted Poston's theory of explanatory coherentism is well-suited as a tool for causal explanation in the health sciences, particularly in epidemiology. Coherence has not only played a role in epidemiology for more than half a century as one of Hill's viewpoints, it can also provide background theory for the development of explanatory systems by integrating epidemiologic evidence with a diversity of other error-independent data. I propose that computational formalization of Hill's viewpoints in an explanatory (...)
     
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  16. Probieren - Verfahren, Zwiespalt, Schweigen und Hoffnung in der Wissenschaft.Olaf Dammann - manuscript
    Dieser Aufsatz beschreibt und erörtert fünf Aspekte der gegenwärtigen Wissenschaft: Verfahren, Zwiespalt, Schweigen, Hoffnung, und Probieren.
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  17.  13
    Towards a Philosophy of Oncology: Anya Plutynski: Explaining Cancer: Finding Order in Disorder. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, 280pp, £47.99 HB.Olaf Dammann - 2019 - Metascience 28 (3):393-395.
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  18.  19
    The Essence of Authenticity.Olaf Dammann, Katja M. Friederichs, Sabine Lebedinski & Kerstin M. Liesenfeld - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    In this paper, we build upon the model of authenticity proposed by Lehman and colleagues, which includes the dimensions consistency, conformity, and connection. We expand this “3C-view” by adding a fourth dimension, continuity, which results in what we have come to call “4C-view of authenticity.” We discuss our proposal from a process perspective and emphasize that congruence might be a reasonable candidate for a concept that unifies the four dimensions of authenticity.
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