Biology & Philosophy

, 34:57 | Cite as

The problem of mooted models for analyses of microbiome causality

  • Justin DonhauserEmail author
  • Sara Worley
  • Michael Bradie
  • Juan L. Bouzat
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Target Article: How Causal are Microbiomes


Lynch, Parke, and O’Malley highlight the need for better evaluative criteria for causal explanations in microbiome research. They propose new interventionist criteria, show that paradigmatic examples of microbiome explanations are flawed using those criteria, and suggest numerous ways microbiome explanations can be improved. While we endorse their primary criticisms and suggestions for improvements in microbiome research, we make several observations regarding the use of mooted causal models in microbiome research that have significant implications for their overall argument. In sum, we contend that their critique is too modest and that even flawed causal inferences like those they criticize can be valuable for generating better causal models and evaluating explanatory outcomes in individual cases.


Microbiome Causal explanation Helicobacter pylori Koch’s postulates Interventionism Mooted models 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA

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