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  1. Mechanisms and the Evidence Hierarchy.Brendan Clarke, Donald Gillies, Phyllis Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson - 2014 - Topoi 33 (2):339-360.
    Evidence-based medicine (EBM) makes use of explicit procedures for grading evidence for causal claims. Normally, these procedures categorise evidence of correlation produced by statistical trials as better evidence for a causal claim than evidence of mechanisms produced by other methods. We argue, in contrast, that evidence of mechanisms needs to be viewed as complementary to, rather than inferior to, evidence of correlation. In this paper we first set out the case for treating evidence of mechanisms alongside evidence of correlation in (...)
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  • The Changing Landscape of the Philosophy of Medicine.Megan Delehanty - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (8).
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  • A Plea for Minimally Biased Naturalistic Philosophy.Andrea Polonioli - 2019 - Synthese 196 (9):3841-3867.
    Naturalistic philosophers rely on literature search and review in a number of ways and for different purposes. Yet this article shows how processes of literature search and review are likely to be affected by widespread and systematic biases. A solution to this problem is offered here. Whilst the tradition of systematic reviews of literature from scientific disciplines has been neglected in philosophy, systematic reviews are important tools that minimize bias in literature search and review and allow for greater reproducibility and (...)
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  • Amalgamating Evidence of Dynamics.David Danks & Sergey Plis - 2019 - Synthese 196 (8):3213-3230.
    Many approaches to evidence amalgamation focus on relatively static information or evidence: the data to be amalgamated involve different variables, contexts, or experiments, but not measurements over extended periods of time. However, much of scientific inquiry focuses on dynamical systems; the system’s behavior over time is critical. Moreover, novel problems of evidence amalgamation arise in these contexts. First, data can be collected at different measurement timescales, where potentially none of them correspond to the underlying system’s causal timescale. Second, missing variables (...)
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  • No Evidence Amalgamation Without Evidence Measurement.Veronica J. Vieland & Hasok Chang - 2019 - Synthese 196 (8):3139-3161.
    In this paper we consider the problem of how to measure the strength of statistical evidence from the perspective of evidence amalgamation operations. We begin with a fundamental measurement amalgamation principle : for any measurement, the inputs and outputs of an amalgamation procedure must be on the same scale, and this scale must have a meaningful interpretation vis a vis the object of measurement. Using the p value as a candidate evidence measure, we examine various commonly used approaches to amalgamation (...)
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  • In Defense of Meta-Analysis.Bennett Holman - 2019 - Synthese 196 (8):3189-3211.
    Arguments that medical decision making should rely on a variety of evidence often begin from the claim that meta-analysis has been shown to be problematic. In this paper, I first examine Stegenga’s argument that meta-analysis requires multiple decisions and thus fails to provide an objective ground for medical decision making. Next, I examine three arguments from social epistemologists that contend that meta-analyses are systematically biased in ways not appreciated by standard epistemology. In most cases I show that critiques of meta-analysis (...)
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  • The Problem of Evaluating Automated Large-Scale Evidence Aggregators.Nicolas Wüthrich & Katie Steele - 2019 - Synthese (8):3083-3102.
    In the biomedical context, policy makers face a large amount of potentially discordant evidence from different sources. This prompts the question of how this evidence should be aggregated in the interests of best-informed policy recommendations. The starting point of our discussion is Hunter and Williams’ recent work on an automated aggregation method for medical evidence. Our negative claim is that it is far from clear what the relevant criteria for evaluating an evidence aggregator of this sort are. What is the (...)
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  • Until RCT Proven? On the Asymmetry of Evidence Requirements for Risk Assessment.Barbara Osimani - 2013 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 19 (3):454-462.
    The problem of collecting, analyzing and evaluating evidence on adverse drug reactions (ADRs) is an example of the more general class of epistemological problems related to scientific inference and prediction, as well as a central problem of the health-care practice. Philosophical discussions have critically analysed the methodological pitfalls and epistemological implications of evidence assessment in medicine, however they have mainly focused on evidence of treatment efficacy. Most of this work is devoted to statistical methods of causal inference with a special (...)
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  • The Risk GP Model: The Standard Model of Prediction in Medicine.Jonathan Fuller & Luis J. Flores - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 54:49-61.
  • Three Criteria for Consensus Conferences.Jacob Stegenga - 2016 - Foundations of Science 21 (1):35-49.
    Consensus conferences are social techniques which involve bringing together a group of scientific experts, and sometimes also non-experts, in order to increase the public role in science and related policy, to amalgamate diverse and often contradictory evidence for a hypothesis of interest, and to achieve scientific consensus or at least the appearance of consensus among scientists. For consensus conferences that set out to amalgamate evidence, I propose three desiderata: Inclusivity, Constraint, and Evidential Complexity. Two examples suggest that consensus conferences can (...)
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  • Down with the Hierarchies.Jacob Stegenga - 2014 - Topoi 33 (2):313-322.
    Evidence hierarchies are widely used to assess evidence in systematic reviews of medical studies. I give several arguments against the use of evidence hierarchies. The problems with evidence hierarchies are numerous, and include methodological shortcomings, philosophical problems, and formal constraints. I argue that medical science should not employ evidence hierarchies, including even the latest and most-sophisticated of such hierarchies.
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  • Hollow Hunt for Harms.Jacob Stegenga - 2016 - Perspectives on Science 24 (5):481-504.
    Harms of medical interventions are systematically underestimated in clinical research. Numerous factors—conceptual, methodological, and social—contribute to this underestimation. I articulate the depth of such underestimation by describing these factors at the various stages of clinical research. Before any evidence is gathered, the ways harms are operationalized in clinical research contributes to their underestimation. Medical interventions are first tested in phase 1 ‘first in human’ trials, but evidence from these trials is rarely published, despite the fact that such trials provide the (...)
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  • From Discovery to Justification: Outline of an Ideal Research Program in Empirical Psychology.Erich H. Witte & Frank Zenker - 2017 - Frontiers in Psychology 8.
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  • Method Pluralism, Method Mismatch, & Method Bias.Adrian Currie & Shahar Avin - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    Pluralism about scientific method is more-or-less accepted, but the consequences have yet to be drawn out. Scientists adopt different methods in response to different epistemic situations: depending on the system they are interested in, the resources at their disposal, and so forth. If it is right that different methods are appropriate in different situations, then mismatches between methods and situations are possible. This is most likely to occur due to method bias: when we prefer a particular kind of method, despite (...)
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  • The Precautionary Principle Meets the Hill Criteria of Causation.Daniel Steel & Jessica Yu - 2019 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 22 (1):72-89.
    ABSTRACTThis article examines the relationship between the precautionary principle and the well-known Hill criteria of causation. Some have charged that the Hill criteria are anti-precautionary because they are strongly inclined towards false negatives in multi-causal contexts typical of environmental and public health issues. However, we argue that without guidance on how to interpret and weight the criteria, no such claims can be supported. Using a case study of tuberculosis among South African goldmine workers, we consider the implications of different weightings (...)
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  • Defining Quality of Care Persuasively.Maya J. Goldenberg - 2012 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 33 (4):243-261.
    As the quality movement in health care now enters its fourth decade, the language of quality is ubiquitous. Practitioners, organizations, and government agencies alike vociferously testify their commitments to quality and accept numerous forms of governance aimed at improving quality of care. Remarkably, the powerful phrase ‘‘quality of care’’ is rarely defined in the health care literature. Instead it operates as an accepted and assumed goal worth pursuing. The status of evidence-based medicine, for instance, hinges on its ability to improve (...)
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  • Robustness, Evidence, and Uncertainty: An Exploration of Policy Applications of Robustness Analysis.Nicolas Wüthrich - unknown
    Policy-makers face an uncertain world. One way of getting a handle on decision-making in such an environment is to rely on evidence. Despite the recent increase in post-fact figures in politics, evidence-based policymaking takes centre stage in policy-setting institutions. Often, however, policy-makers face large volumes of evidence from different sources. Robustness analysis can, prima facie, handle this evidential diversity. Roughly, a hypothesis is supported by robust evidence if the different evidential sources are in agreement. In this thesis, I strengthen the (...)
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  • Safe, or Sorry? Cancer Screening and Inductive Risk.A. Plutynski - unknown
    The general assumption behind cancer screening has been that early diagnosis and treatment is effective at reducing cancer-related mortality; this is broadly speaking true, for some cancer screening efforts, in some age groups. However, screening may in some cases do more harm than good. One source of harm is overdiagnosis and overtreatment, the diagnosis and treatment of indolent or slow-growing disease that may never lead to morbidity or mortality in the lifetime of the patient. Precaution in cancer screening is thus (...)
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  • The Challenges of Choosing and Explaining a Phenomenon in Epidemiological Research on the “Hispanic Paradox”.Sean A. Valles - 2016 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 37 (2):129-148.
    According to public health data, the US Hispanic population is far healthier than would be expected for a population with low socioeconomic status. Ever since Kyriakos Markides and Jeannine Coreil highlighted this in a seminal 1986 article, public health researchers have sought to explain the so-called “Hispanic paradox.” Several candidate explanations have been offered over the years, but the debate goes on. This article offers a philosophical analysis that clarifies how two sets of obstacles make it particularly difficult to explain (...)
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  • Is EBM an Appropriate Model for Research Into the Effectiveness of Psychotherapy?Sydney Katherine Hovda - 2019 - Topoi 38 (2):401-409.
    EBM, and the hierarchy of evidence it prescribes, is a controversial model when it comes to research into the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic treatments. This is due in part to the so-called ‘Dodo Bird verdict’, which claims that all psychotherapies are equally effective, and that their effectiveness is largely due to the placebo effect. In response to this controversy, I argue that EBM can nevertheless be made to fit research into the effectiveness of psychotherapy, once a piecemeal approach to conducting RCTs (...)
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  • Hierarchies of Evidence in Evidence-Based Medicine.Christopher J. Blunt - 2015 - Dissertation, London School of Economics
    Hierarchies of evidence are an important and influential tool for appraising evidence in medicine. In recent years, hierarchies have been formally adopted by organizations including the Cochrane Collaboration [1], NICE [2,3], the WHO [4], the US Preventive Services Task Force [5], and the Australian NHMRC [6,7]. The development of such hierarchies has been regarded as a central part of Evidence-Based Medicine, a movement within healthcare which prioritises the use of epidemiological evidence such as that provided by Randomised Controlled Trials. Philosophical (...)
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  • When is Consensus Knowledge Based? Distinguishing Shared Knowledge From Mere Agreement.Boaz Miller - 2013 - Synthese 190 (7):1293-1316.
    Scientific consensus is widely deferred to in public debates as a social indicator of the existence of knowledge. However, it is far from clear that such deference to consensus is always justified. The existence of agreement in a community of researchers is a contingent fact, and researchers may reach a consensus for all kinds of reasons, such as fighting a common foe or sharing a common bias. Scientific consensus, by itself, does not necessarily indicate the existence of shared knowledge among (...)
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  • A Plea for Minimally Biased Empirical Philosophy.Andrea Polonioli - unknown
    Naturalistic philosophers rely on literature search and review in a number of ways and for different purposes. Yet this article shows how processes of literature search and review are likely to be affected by widespread and systematic biases. A solution to this problem is offered here. Whilst the tradition of systematic reviews of literature from scientific disciplines has been neglected in philosophy, systematic reviews are important tools that minimize bias in literature search and review and allow for greater reproducibility and (...)
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  • GMOs: Non-Health Issues.Daniel Hicks & Roberta L. Millstein - 2016 - In Paul B. Thompson & David Kaplan (eds.), Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics (Second Edition). Springer. pp. 1-11.
    The controversy over genetically modified [GM] organisms is often framed in terms of possible hazards for human health. Articles in a previous volume of this *Encyclopedia* give a general overview of GM crops [@Mulvaney2014] and specifically examine human health [@Nordgard2014] and labeling [@Bruton2014] issues surrounding GM organisms. This article explores several other aspects of the controversy: environmental concerns, political and legal disputes, and the aim of "feeding the world" and promoting food security. Rather than discussing abstract, hypothetical GM organisms, this (...)
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  • Evidence‐Based Medicine—Not a Panacea for the Problems of a Complex Adaptive World.Joachim P. Sturmberg - forthcoming - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.
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  • Science and Common Sense: Perspectives From Philosophy and Science Education.Sara Green - 2019 - Synthese 196 (3):795-818.
    This paper explores the relation between scientific knowledge and common sense intuitions as a complement to Hoyningen-Huene’s account of systematicity. On one hand, Hoyningen-Huene embraces continuity between these in his characterization of scientific knowledge as an extension of everyday knowledge, distinguished by an increase in systematicity. On the other, he argues that scientific knowledge often comes to deviate from common sense as science develops. Specifically, he argues that a departure from common sense is a price we may have to pay (...)
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  • Scientific Consensus and Expert Testimony in Courts: Lessons From the Bendectin Litigation.Boaz Miller - 2016 - Foundations of Science 21 (1):15-33.
    A consensus in a scientific community is often used as a resource for making informed public-policy decisions and deciding between rival expert testimonies in legal trials. This paper contains a social-epistemic analysis of the high-profile Bendectin drug controversy, which was decided in the courtroom inter alia by deference to a scientific consensus about the safety of Bendectin. Drawing on my previously developed account of knowledge-based consensus, I argue that the consensus in this case was not knowledge based, hence courts’ deference (...)
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  • The Emergence of Statistical Objectivity: Changing Ideas of Epistemic Vice and Virtue in Science.Jeremy Freese & David Peterson - 2018 - Sociological Theory 36 (3):289-313.
    The meaning of objectivity in any specific setting reflects historically situated understandings of both science and self. Recently, various scientific fields have confronted growing mistrust about the replicability of findings, and statistical techniques have been deployed to articulate a “crisis of false positives.” In response, epistemic activists have invoked a decidedly economic understanding of scientists’ selves. This has prompted a scientific social movement of proposed reforms, including regulating disclosure of “backstage” research details and enhancing incentives for replication. We theorize that (...)
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  • Epistemology of Causal Inference in Pharmacology.Jürgen Landes, Barbara Osimani & Roland Poellinger - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (1):3-49.
    Philosophical discussions on causal inference in medicine are stuck in dyadic camps, each defending one kind of evidence or method rather than another as best support for causal hypotheses. Whereas Evidence Based Medicine advocates the use of Randomised Controlled Trials and systematic reviews of RCTs as gold standard, philosophers of science emphasise the importance of mechanisms and their distinctive informational contribution to causal inference and assessment. Some have suggested the adoption of a pluralistic approach to causal inference, and an inductive (...)
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  • Significance Testing, P-Values and the Principle of Total Evidence.Bengt Autzen - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (2):281-295.
    The paper examines the claim that significance testing violates the Principle of Total Evidence. I argue that p-values violate PTE for two-sided tests but satisfy PTE for one-sided tests invoking a sufficient test statistic independent of the preferred theory of evidence. While the focus of the paper is to evaluate a particular claim about the relationship of significance testing and PTE, I clarify the reading of this methodological principle along the way.
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  • On the Impossibility of Amalgamating Evidence.Aki Lehtinen - 2013 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 44 (1):101-110.
    It is argued in this paper that amalgamating confirmation from various sources is relevantly different from social-choice contexts, and that proving an impossibility theorem for aggregating confirmation measures directs attention to irrelevant issues.
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  • Hunting Side Effects and Explaining Them: Should We Reverse Evidence Hierarchies Upside Down?Barbara Osimani - 2014 - Topoi 33 (2):295-312.