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Risk, Chance, and CausationInvestigating the Origins and Treatment of Disease$
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Michael B. Bracken

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300188844

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300188844.001.0001

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(p.35) Three Risk
Risk, Chance, and Causation

Michael B. Bracken

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on the relationship of risk with natural selection; risk has helped humans evolve. The common notion about risk is that it is absolute; this chapter, however, argues that it is relative and ubiquitous. Determining the risk of one course of action requires a comparison to another, e.g. what are the risks of rock climbing as compared to the risks of staying in bed? The chapter aims to determine the extent to which entity risk is relative. The expression of risk, and risk itself, is far from being a simple concept. Determining causality requires an assessment of relative risk; therefore, it is not surprising that relative risk is the most important measure of risk used by epidemiologists and health professionals in their studies of causality.

Keywords:   risk, natural selection, comparison, expression of risk, causality, relative risk, epidemiologists, health professionals

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