Causes of Disease: Causality and Pathogenesis in Medicine

Project leader:
Prof. Dr. Dr. Peter Hucklenbroich (Münster)

The general goal of this project is a clarification of the use of concepts of explanation, disposition and causation; furthermore, the connections of such concepts with concepts of disease will be examined; this part of the project has to take into account the diversity of concepts represented in different theories of medicine as far as they refer to the origins of disease and to the ensemble of subsequent (patho)physiological and (patho)biochemical processes which alltogether make up the field of pathogenesis. To this intent, four major tasks have to be performed: 1) A sufficient number of representative medical facts has to be chosen in order to reconstruct medical knowledge by epistemological methods; 2) concepts used so far to discuss problems inherent to medical explanatory theories have to be compared with akin types of concepts available in modern philosophy of science; 3) as soon as a meta-theory of pathogenesis will have been established, its unification with the meta-concept of disease already elaborated by the project leader will be performed; the results obtained in 1) to 3) will, finally, open the way for 4) reflections upon a great deal of so far unresolved epistemological problems and controversies in theories of medicine and, respectively, meta-theories of pathogenesis.