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Philosophers of science have insisted that evidence of underlying mechanisms is required to support claims about the effects of medical interventions. Yet evidence about mechanisms does not feature on dominant evidence-based medicine “hierarchies.” In this session we explore what it means for a ‘mechanism’ to count as evidence for efficacy and effectiveness.

Core reading: Howick J (2012). Exposing the vanities – and a qualified defense – of mechanistic
reasoning in health care decision making. Philosophy of Science, 78(5):926-940.

Part of the Topics in the Philosophy of Medicine seminar series:

We will explore topics that are both philosophically interesting, and also relevant to medical research or practice, and the core readings draw on the philosophical as well as the medical literature. We begin with some background linking general epistemological concepts with current topics in philosophy of medicine. We then move on to examine the specific problems of the epistemological role of randomization, causal inference in clinical trials, the role of mechanisms as evidence, the epistemological (and ethical) role of placebo controls, and whether Evidence-Based Medicine as a movement is justified.

No booking required.

For enquires contact Jeremy Howick.

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