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parastasisParastasis (ger.)

  • The existence of alternative pathways to the same end.  

    A may cause C either by produing B1 or B2. Such a relationship is a parastasis. […] Parastasis. An event A may have an effect B that is mediated through any one of several pathways. It is only if all pathways are blocked that the effect B is prevented.

    Murphy, E. (1976). The Logic of Medicine: 98; 235.


    This biological phenomenon whereby there exist alternative pathways to the same end has been variously termed »multiple causation« or »parastasis«.

    Schaffner, K. (1983). Clinical trials: The validation of theory and therapy. In: Cohen, R.S. & Laudan, L. (eds.). Physics, Philosophy and Psychoanalysis, 191-208: 199; id. (1993). Discovery and Explanation in Biology and Medicine: 370.