Causation and Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Heritability

Abstract

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of human complex traits have provided us with new estimates of heritability. These estimates foreground the question of genetic causation. After having presented in simple terms the rationale underlying this way of estimating heritability, I assess the extent to which relationships between genes and phenotypes established with GWAS satisfy several dimensions of causal relationships—namely, range of influence, specificity, and stability—distinguished within the interventionist account of causation. The upshot is that if these relationships are causal in some sense, my analysis shows the extent to which they do not represent paradigmatic causal relationships.

Publication
Philosophy of Science, 87(5), 1073–1083.
Pierrick Bourrat
Pierrick Bourrat
Senior Lecturer & DECRA Fellow

My research interests include the concepts of evolutionary theory, causation and the interplay between biological and cultural evolution.