David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 42 (4):497-507 (2011)
An astonishing volume and diversity of evidence is available for many hypotheses in the biomedical and social sciences. Some of this evidence—usually from randomized controlled trials (RCTs)—is amalgamated by meta-analysis. Despite the ongoing debate regarding whether or not RCTs are the ‘gold-standard’ of evidence, it is usually meta-analysis which is considered the best source of evidence: meta-analysis is thought by many to be the platinum standard of evidence. However, I argue that meta-analysis falls far short of that standard. Different meta-analyses of the same evidence can reach contradictory conclusions. Meta-analysis fails to provide objective grounds for intersubjective assessments of hypotheses because numerous decisions must be made when performing a meta-analysis which allow wide latitude for subjective idiosyncrasies to influence its outcome. I end by suggesting that an older tradition of evidence in medicine—the plurality of reasoning strategies appealed to by the epidemiologist Sir Bradford Hill—is a superior strategy for assessing a large volume and diversity of evidence.
|Keywords||meta-analysis RCT randomized controlled trial evidence|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
James Woodward (2010). Causation in Biology: Stability, Specificity, and the Choice of Levels of Explanation. Biology and Philosophy 25 (3):287-318.
Nancy Cartwright (2007). Are Rcts the Gold Standard? Biosocieties 1:11-20.
Jacob Stegenga (2009). Robustness, Discordance, and Relevance. Philosophy of Science 76 (5):650-661.
John Worrall (2002). What Evidence in Evidence-Based Medicine? Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S316-S330.
John Worrall (2007). Why There's No Cause to Randomize. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (3):451-488.
Citations of this work BETA
Boaz Miller (2013). When is Consensus Knowledge Based? Distinguishing Shared Knowledge From Mere Agreement. Synthese 190 (7):1293-1316.
Brendan Clarke, Donald Gillies, Phyllis Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (2014). Mechanisms and the Evidence Hierarchy. Topoi 33 (2):339-360.
Barbara Osimani (2013). Until RCT-Proven? On the Asymmetry of Evidence Requirements for Risk Assessment. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 19 (3):454-462.
Boaz Miller (2014). Catching the WAVE: The Weight-Adjusting Account of Values and Evidence. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 47:69-80.
Boaz Miller (2016). Scientific Consensus and Expert Testimony in Courts: Lessons From the Bendectin Litigation. Foundations of Science 21 (1):15-33.
Similar books and articles
Sergi G. Costafreda (2012). Meta-Analysis, Mega-Analysis, and Task Analysis in fMRI Research. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 18 (4):275-277.
Cecilia Nardini & Jan Sprenger (2013). Bias and Conditioning in Sequential Medical Trials. Philosophy of Science 80 (5):1053-1064.
Werner Ehm (2005). Meta-Analysis O Mind-Matter Experiments: A Statistical Modeling Perspective. Mind and Matter 3 (1):85-132.
John PA Ioannidis (2008). Effectiveness of Antidepressants: An Evidence Myth Constructed From a Thousand Randomized Trials? [REVIEW] Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 3 (1):14.
Branden Fitelson & Richard Feldman (2012). Evidence of Evidence is Not (Necessarily) Evidence. Analysis 72 (1):85-88.
John A. Brierley & Christopher J. Cowton (2000). Putting Meta-Analysis to Work: Accountants' Organizational-Professional Conflict. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 24 (4):343 - 353.
Jennifer C. Wright, Piper T. Grandjean & Cullen B. McWhite (2012). The Meta-Ethical Grounding of Our Moral Beliefs: Evidence for Meta-Ethical Pluralism. Philosophical Psychology 26 (3):336-361.
Peter C. Gøtzsche (2007). Rational Diagnosis and Treatment: Evidence-Based Clinical Decision-Making. J. Wiley.
Roy Sorensen (2004). Charity Implies Meta-Charity. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (2):290–315.
Polycarp Ikuenobe (2002). The Meta-Ethical Issue of the Nature of Lying: Implications for Moral Education. Studies in Philosophy and Education 21 (1):37-63.
David Hull (1992). Testing Philosophical Claims About Science. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:468 - 475.
Andrew Sneddon (2009). Normative Ethics and the Prospects of an Empirical Contribution to Assessment of Moral Disagreement and Moral Realism. Journal of Value Inquiry 43 (4):447-455.
Added to index2011-08-19
Total downloads274 ( #8,796 of 1,911,733 )
Recent downloads (6 months)62 ( #8,442 of 1,911,733 )
How can I increase my downloads?