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 shoals of strict reductionism and relativism, Rabins maps a three-facet model of causality and applies it to a variety of questions in science, medicine, economics, and more. Throughout this book, 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.
Peter Rabins is the Richman Family Professor for Alzheimer's and Related Diseases and director of the Geriatric Psychiatry program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the Johns Hopkins Berman Bioethics Institute. He is the author or editor of eight books and coauthor of the landmark title The Thirty-Six-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life.
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