Der 16. Weltkongress für Philosophie

Volume 2, 1983

Sektions-Vorträge I - Résumés des sections I - Section Papers I

Caroline Whitbeck
Pages 1394-1401

Etiology and the Etiologic Agent

It is argued there are features which distinguish causal conditions from necessary or sufficient conditions in general; that causal conditions are those which serve our instrumental interests, i.e., interests in producing or preventing states of affairs. It is further argued that the context of our instrumental interests determines what causal condition is designated as "the cause" in scientific contexts. It is argued that this is true of the health sciences in particular and the particular instrumental interests characteristic of the health sciences are further shown to govern the choice of what causal condition of a disease is accorded the status of etiologic agent.