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  1. Six Theses on Mechanisms and Mechanistic Science.Stuart Glennan, Phyllis Illari & Erik Weber - 2022 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 53 (2):143-161.
    In this paper we identify six theses that constitute core results of philosophical investigation into the nature of mechanisms, and of the role that the search for and identification of mechanisms play in the sciences. These theses represent the fruits of the body of research that is now often called New Mechanism. We concisely present the main arguments for these theses. In the literature, these arguments are scattered and often implicit. Our analysis can guide future research in many ways: it (...)
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  • Mechanisms in Clinical Practice: Use and Justification.Mark R. Tonelli & Jon Williamson - 2020 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 23 (1):115-124.
    While the importance of mechanisms in determining causality in medicine is currently the subject of active debate, the role of mechanistic reasoning in clinical practice has received far less attention. In this paper we look at this question in the context of the treatment of a particular individual, and argue that evidence of mechanisms is indeed key to various aspects of clinical practice, including assessing population-level research reports, diagnostic as well as therapeutic decision making, and the assessment of treatment effects. (...)
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  • Revolution and Progress in Medicine.William Goodwin - 2015 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 36 (1):25-39.
    This paper adapts Kuhn’s conceptual framework to developmental episodes in the theory and practice of medicine. Previous attempts to understand the reception of Ignaz Semmelweis’s work on puerperal fever in Kuhnian terms are used as a starting point. The author identifies some limitations of these attempts and proposes a new way of understanding the core Kuhnian notions of “paradigm,” “progress,” and “revolution” in the context of a socially embedded technoscience such as medicine.
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  • Mechanisms and Difference-Making.Stefan Dragulinescu - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (1):29-54.
    I argue that difference-making should be a crucial element for evaluating the quality of evidence for mechanisms, especially with respect to the robustness of mechanisms, and that it should take central stage when it comes to the general role played by mechanisms in establishing causal claims in medicine. The difference- making of mechanisms should provide additional compelling reasons to accept the gist of Russo-Williamson thesis and include mechanisms in the protocols for Evidence- Based Medicine, as the EBM+ research group has (...)
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  • Robustness and Evidence of Mechanisms in Early Experimental Atherosclerosis Research.Veli-Pekka Parkkinen - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 60:44-55.
  • Wishful Intelligibility, Black Boxes, and Epidemiological Explanation.Marina DiMarco - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (5):824-834.
    Epidemiological explanation often has a “black box” character, meaning the intermediate steps between cause and effect are unknown. Filling in black boxes is thought to improve causal inferences by making them intelligible. I argue that adding information about intermediate causes to a black box explanation is an unreliable guide to pragmatic intelligibility because it may mislead us about the stability of a cause. I diagnose a problem that I call wishful intelligibility, which occurs when scientists misjudge the limitations of certain (...)
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  • Disease-Mongering Through Clinical Trials.María González-Moreno, Cristian Saborido & David Teira - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 51:11-18.
    Why scientists reach an agreement on new experimental methods when there are conflicts of interest about the evidence they yield? I argue that debiasing methods play a crucial role in this consensus, providing a warrant about the impartiality of the outcome regarding the preferences of different parties involved in the experiment. From a contractarian perspective, I contend that an epistemic pre-requisite for scientists to agree on an experimental method is that this latter is neutral regarding their competing interests. I present (...)
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  • Model-Based Knowledge and Credible Policy Analysis.David Teira & Hsiang-Ke Chao - 2017 - In Hsiang-Ke Chao & Julian Reiss (eds.), Philosophy of Science in Practice: Nancy Cartwright and the Nature of Scientific Reasoning. Springer Verlag.
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  • Extrapolation of Experimental Results Through Analogical Reasoning From Latent Classes.Gerdien G. van Eersel, Julian Reiss & Gabriela V. Koppenol-Gonzalez - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (2):219-235.
    In the human sciences, experimental research is used to establish causal relationships. However, the extrapolation of these results to the target population can be problematic. To facilitate extrapolation, we propose to use the statistical technique Latent Class Regression Analysis in combination with the analogical reasoning theory for extrapolation. This statistical technique can identify latent classes that differ in the effect of X on Y. In order to extrapolate by means of analogical reasoning, one can characterize the latent classes by a (...)
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  • Better Evaluating Mechanisms in Medicine. Book Review: Evaluating E Vidence of M Echanisms in M Edicine.Adam La Caze - 2019 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 25 (6):1228-1231.
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  • Interdisciplinary Workshop in the Philosophy of Medicine: Medical Knowledge, Medical Duties.Emma Bullock & Elselijn Kingma - 2014 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 20 (6):994-1001.
    On 27 September 2013, the Centre for the Humanities and Health (CHH) at King's College London hosted a 1-day workshop on ‘Medical knowledge, Medical Duties’. This workshop was the fifth in a series of five workshops whose aim is to provide a new model for high-quality, open interdisciplinary engagement between medical professionals and philosophers. This report identifies the key points of discussion raised throughout the day and the methodology employed.
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  • Research Problems and Methods in the Philosophy of Medicine.Michael Loughlin, Robyn Bluhm & Mona Gupta - 2017 - In .
    Philosophy of medicine encompasses a broad range of methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives—from the uses of statistical reasoning and probability theory in epidemiology and evidence-based medicine to questions about how to recognize the uniqueness of individual patients in medical humanities, person-centered care, and values-based practice; and from debates about causal ontology to questions of how to cultivate epistemic and moral virtue in practice. Apart from being different ways of thinking about medical practices, do these different philosophical approaches have anything in (...)
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  • Framing the Epistemic Schism of Statistical Mechanics.Javier Anta - 2021 - Proceedings of the X Conference of the Spanish Society of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science.
    In this talk I present the main results from Anta (2021), namely, that the theoretical division between Boltzmannian and Gibbsian statistical mechanics should be understood as a separation in the epistemic capabilities of this physical discipline. In particular, while from the Boltzmannian framework one can generate powerful explanations of thermal processes by appealing to their microdynamics, from the Gibbsian framework one can predict observable values in a computationally effective way. Finally, I argue that this statistical mechanical schism contradicts the Hempelian (...)
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  • Extrapolation and the Russo–Williamson Thesis.Michael Wilde & Veli-Pekka Parkkinen - 2019 - Synthese 196 (8):3251-3262.
    A particular tradition in medicine claims that a variety of evidence is helpful in determining whether an observed correlation is causal. In line with this tradition, it has been claimed that establishing a causal claim in medicine requires both probabilistic and mechanistic evidence. This claim has been put forward by Federica Russo and Jon Williamson. As a result, it is sometimes called the Russo–Williamson thesis. In support of this thesis, Russo and Williamson appeal to the practice of the International Agency (...)
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  • Evidence for Personalised Medicine: Mechanisms, Correlation, and New Kinds of Black Box.Mary Jean Walker, Justin Bourke & Katrina Hutchison - 2019 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 40 (2):103-121.
    Personalised medicine has been discussed as a medical paradigm shift that will improve health while reducing inefficiency and waste. At the same time, it raises new practical, regulatory, and ethical challenges. In this paper, we examine PM strategies epistemologically in order to develop capacities to address these challenges, focusing on a recently proposed strategy for developing patient-specific models from induced pluripotent stem cells so as to make individualised treatment predictions. We compare this strategy to two main PM strategies—stratified medicine and (...)
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  • Psychopathy: Morally Incapacitated Persons.Heidi Maibom - 2017 - In Thomas Schramme & Steven Edwards (eds.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Medicine. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 1109-1129.
    After describing the disorder of psychopathy, I examine the theories and the evidence concerning the psychopaths’ deficient moral capacities. I first examine whether or not psychopaths can pass tests of moral knowledge. Most of the evidence suggests that they can. If there is a lack of moral understanding, then it has to be due to an incapacity that affects not their declarative knowledge of moral norms, but their deeper understanding of them. I then examine two suggestions: it is their deficient (...)
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  • Grading the Quality of Evidence of Mechanisms.Stefan Dragulinescu - unknown - Dissertation, University of Kent
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  • What Counts as 'What Works': Expertise, Mechanisms and Values in Evidence-Based Medicine.Sarah Wieten - 2018 - Dissertation, Durham University
    My doctoral project is a study of epistemological and ethical issues in Evidence-Based Medicine, a movement in medicine which emphasizes the use of randomized controlled trials. Much of the research on EBM suggests that, for a large part of the movement's history, EBM considered expertise, mechanisms, and values to be forces contrary to its goals and has sought to remove them, both from medical research and from the clinical encounter. I argue, however, that expertise, mechanisms and values have important epistemological (...)
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  • Establishing Causal Claims in Medicine.Jon Williamson - 2019 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 32 (1):33-61.
    Russo and Williamson put forward the following thesis: in order to establish a causal claim in medicine, one normally needs to establish both that the putative cause and putative effect are appropriately correlated and that there is some underlying mechanism that can account for this correlation. I argue that, although the Russo-Williamson thesis conflicts with the tenets of present-day evidence-based medicine, it offers a better causal epistemology than that provided by present-day EBM because it better explains two key aspects of (...)
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  • Experimental Practices and Objectivity in the Social Sciences: Re-Embedding Construct Validity in the Internal–External Validity Distinction.María Jiménez-Buedo & Federica Russo - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9549-9579.
    The experimental revolution in the social sciences is one of the most significant methodological shifts undergone by the field since the ‘quantitative revolution’ in the nineteenth century. One of the often valued features of social science experimentation is precisely the fact that there are clear methodological rules regarding hypothesis testing that come from the methods of the natural sciences and from the methodology of RCTs in the biomedical sciences, and that allow for the adjudication among contentious causal claims. We examine (...)
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  • Evaluating the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s Position on the Implausible Effectiveness of Homeopathic Treatments.Andrew Turner - 2017 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (4):335-352.
    In 2009, the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee conducted an ‘evidence check’ on homeopathy to evaluate evidence for its effectiveness. In common with the wider literature critical of homeopathy, the STC report seems to endorse many of the strong claims that are made about its implausibility. In contrast with the critical literature, however, the STC report explicitly does not place any weight on implausibility in its evaluation. I use the contrasting positions of the STC and the wider (...)
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  • Epistemic values of quantity and variety of evidence in biological mechanism research.Yin Chung Au - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (2):1-22.
    This paper proposes an extended version of the interventionist account for causal inference in the practical context of biological mechanism research. This paper studies the details of biological mechanism researchers’ practices of assessing the evidential legitimacy of experimental data, arguing why quantity and variety are two important criteria for this assessment. Because of the nature of biological mechanism research, the epistemic values of these two criteria result from the independence both between the causation of data generation and the causation in (...)
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  • The Myth and Fallacy of Simple Extrapolation in Medicine.Jonathan Fuller - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):2919-2939.
    Simple extrapolation is the orthodox approach to extrapolating from clinical trials in evidence-based medicine: extrapolate the relative effect size from the trial unless there is a compelling reason not to do so. I argue that this method relies on a myth and a fallacy. The myth of simple extrapolation is the idea that the relative risk is a ‘golden ratio’ that is usually transportable due to some special mathematical or theoretical property. The fallacy of simple extrapolation is an unjustified argument (...)
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  • The ‘Big Picture’: The Problem of Extrapolation in Basic Research.Tudor M. Baetu - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (4):941-964.
    Both clinical research and basic science rely on the epistemic practice of extrapolation from surrogate models, to the point that explanatory accounts presented in review papers and biology textbooks are in fact composite pictures reconstituted from data gathered in a variety of distinct experimental setups. This raises two new challenges to previously proposed mechanistic-similarity solutions to the problem of extrapolation: one pertaining to the absence of mechanistic knowledge in the early stages of research and the second to the large number (...)
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  • Can Animal Data Translate to Innovations Necessary for a New Era of Patient-Centred and Individualised Healthcare? Bias in Preclinical Animal Research.Susan Bridgwood Green - 2015 - BMC Medical Ethics 16 (1):1-14.
    BackgroundThe public and healthcare workers have a high expectation of animal research which they perceive as necessary to predict the safety and efficacy of drugs before testing in clinical trials. However, the expectation is not always realised and there is evidence that the research often fails to stand up to scientific scrutiny and its 'predictive value' is either weak or absent.DiscussionProblems with the use of animals as models of humans arise from a variety of biases and systemic failures including: 1) (...)
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