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What is the philosophy of medicine? The topics covered by this seminar series are introduced via their historical roots. We look at methodological debates in the history of medicine, from the origins of comparative trials, the use of placebos, and probabilistic thinking in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through the growth of observational and cohort studies in epidemiology in the twentieth century to the birth of the so-called ‘Evidence-Based Medicine’ (EBM) movement in the 1980s.

Core reading: Howick, J. (2011) The Philosophy of Evidence-Based Medicine BMJ Books, Chapters 1-3.

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.

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For enquiries, contact Jeremy Howick

Public talks in Evidence-Based Health Care

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