The Why of Things: Causality in Science, Medicine, and Life

Kobo ebook | July 30, 2013

byPeter V. Rabins

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Why was there a meltdown at the Fukushima power plant? Why do some people get cancer and not others? Why is global warming happening? Why does one person get depressed in the face of life's vicissitudes while another finds resilience?" Questions like these-questions of causality-form the basis of modern scientific inquiry, posing profound intellectual and methodological challenges for researchers in the physical, natural, biomedical, and social sciences.

In this groundbreaking book, noted psychiatrist and author Peter Rabins offers a conceptual framework for analyzing daunting questions of causality. Navigating a lively intellectual voyage between the polar star of strict reductionism and the murky shoals of relativism, Rabins maps a three-facet model of causality and applies it to a variety of questions in science, medicine, economics, and more. Throughout, Rabins situates his argument within relevant scientific contexts, such as quantum mechanics, cybernetics, chaos theory, and epigenetics. A renowned communicator of complex concepts and scientific ideas, Rabins helps readers stretch their minds beyond the realm of popular literary tipping points, blinks, and freakonomic explanations of the world.

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Why was there a meltdown at the Fukushima power plant? Why do some people get cancer and not others? Why is global warming happening? Why does one person get depressed in the face of life's vicissitudes while another finds resilience?" Questions like these-questions of causality-form the basis of modern scientific inquiry, posing profo...

Peter Rabins is the Richman Family Professor and director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the Johns Hopkins Berman Bioethics Institute. He has devoted his career to studying psychiatric disorders in the elder...

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Format:Kobo ebookPublished:July 30, 2013Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231535457

ISBN - 13:9780231535458

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Read the introduction to The Why of Things:

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
1. Historical Overview: The Four Approaches to Causality
2. The Three-Facet Model: An Overview
3. The Answer Is Either "No" or "Yes": Causality as a Categorical Concept
4. Probabilities
5. A Third Model of Causality: The Emergent
6. Empirical: The Physical Sciences
7. Empirical: The Biological Sciences
8. Empirical: Epidemiology
9. Narrative Truth: The Empathic Method
10. Cause in the Ecclesiastic Tradition
11. Seeking the Why of Things: The Model Applied
References
Index

Editorial Reviews

A most enjoyable read and source of inspiration. The book constitutes a noteworthy addition to Professor Rabins' academic production? Philosophers of science - and perhaps more specifically philosophers interested in causality, explanation, or medicine - would gain a lot in reading it.