The Why of Things: Causality in Science, Medicine, and Life

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Columbia University Press, Aug 27, 2013 - Science - 304 pages
2 Reviews

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.


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User Review  - AliceaP - LibraryThing

The Why of Things: Causality in Science, Medicine, and Life by Peter Rabins was just as interesting as its title suggests. As a species, humans are always looking for the answers to 'why' things ... Read full review

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User Review  - NielsenGW - LibraryThing

Peter Rabins’s The Why of Things tries to get to the philosophical root of everything. He’s not trying to find a single underlying cause for all actions and entities in the universe, but rather ... Read full review



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About the author (2013)

Peter Rabins is the Richman Family Professor and director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the Johns Hopkins Berman Bioethics Institute. He has devoted his career to studying psychiatric disorders in the elderly and is the author or editor of eight books and coauthor of the landmark titleThe Thirty-Six-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life.

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