Koch’s Postulates: An Interventionist Perspective

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Ross, Lauren N.; Woodward, James
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We argue that Koch’s postulates are best understood within an interventionist account of causation, in the sense described in Woodward (2003). We show how this treatment helps to resolve interpretive puzzles associated with Koch’s work and how it clarifies the different roles the postulates play in providing useful, yet not universal criteria for disease causation. Our paper is an effort at rational reconstruction; we attempt to show how Koch’s postulates and reasoning make sense and are normatively justified within an interventionist framework and more difficult to understand within alternative frameworks for thinking about causation.