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The Why of ThingsCausality in Science, Medicine, and Life$
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Peter Rabins

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164726

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164726.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Why of Things

Peter V. Rabins

Columbia University Press

This book offers a conceptual framework for analyzing daunting questions of causality, such as why the Fukushima and Three Mile Island nuclear disasters occurred or why a person becomes depressed. How can we include factors as disparate as a valve left open, the inherent complexity of multisystem manufacturing plants, and the inability of humans to anticipate all of the potential errors and adverse events in operating such a complex system? How can genetics, early life experience, and current events be understood as causing depression in one person but not in another with similar experiences and background? This book proposes a three-facet model of causality and applies it to a variety of questions in science, medicine, economics, and other fields. Facet 1 consists of three conceptual models of causal logic, Facet 2 describes four levels of analysis, and Facet 3 describes the three logics by which knowledge of cause is gained. The book is based on the premise that causes exist and that causal relationships can be discovered and confirmed.

Keywords:   causality, nuclear disasters, genetics, early life experience, current events, depression, science, medicine, cause, causal relationships

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