Establishing the teratogenicity of Zika and evaluating causal criteria

July 6, 2018 Jon Williamson

The teratogenicity of the Zika virus was considered established in 2016, and is an interesting case because three different sets of causal criteria were used to assess teratogenicity. This paper appeals to the thesis of Russo and Williamson (Int Stud Philos Sci 21(2):157–170, 2007) to devise an epistemological framework that can be used to compare and evaluate sets of causal criteria. The framework can also be used to decide when enough criteria are satisfied to establish causality. Arguably, the three sets of causal criteria considered here offer only a rudimentary assessment of mechanistic studies, and some suggestions are made as to alternative ways to establish causality.

The paper is available open access here.

(Electron micrograph image by CDC/ Cynthia Goldsmith, Public Domain.)

Jon Williamson
Center for Reasoning, University of Kent