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Jungwon Kim 1 Article
Epidemiology and Causation
Jungwon Kim
Kosin Med J. 2013;28(2):87-97.   Published online January 19, 2013
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In medicine and public health areas, it is essential for researchers and clinicians to investigate causal relationships dealing with the terms of cause, causation and causality. In treating a patient, the treatment will be given based on the assumption that that treatment will cause an improvement or cure of the patient. For diagnosis, we need a causation concept to associate diseases with etiologic factors such as genetic, environmental, occupational and other components. The prevention and intervention of a disease involve the selecting process of probable causal factors too.

The causal problem is one of main issues in philosophy since ancient Greek. Aristotle theorized material, formal, efficient, and formal causes. Francis Bacon and Descartes mainly used induction and deduction, respectively. Hume denied the capacity of inductive methodologies to find truth. Among philosophers of science, the debates whether we can find objective truth or not will be continued. This causation can be two subsets, ontological and epistemological (or methodological). Traditional philosophical approaches mainly focus on ontological problems, such as what is causation?; are there causal laws? In general, scientific or epidemiological approaches are dealing with the epistemological dimension, i.e, causation criteria; test for a causal hypothesis.

For clinicians and researchers in medical and public health, it would be a good chance to review and re-think the notions of cause, causation and causality. Also there will be helpful understanding of more detail informations about the methodology such as causal inference, Hill’s criteria and Rothman’s causal pie model.


Citations to this article as recorded by  
  • Causal Criteria in Medical and Biological Disciplines: History, Essence, and Radiation Aspect. Report 1. Problem Statement, Conception of Causes and Causation, False Associations
    A. N. Koterov
    Biology Bulletin.2019; 46(11): 1458.     CrossRef
  • Compensation for Work-Related Hematologic, Liver, and Infectious Diseases
    Jung-Won Kim, Dong-Mug Kang
    Journal of Korean Medical Science.2014; 29(Suppl): S66.     CrossRef

KMJ : Kosin Medical Journal