Mechanisms and the Evidence Hierarchy

Topoi 33 (2):339-360 (2014)

Abstract

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 explicit protocols for evaluating evidence. Next we provide case studies which exemplify the ways in which evidence of mechanisms complements evidence of correlation in practice. Finally, we put forward some general considerations as to how the two sorts of evidence can be more closely integrated by EBM

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,743

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2013-12-03

Downloads
231 (#50,277)

6 months
5 (#135,993)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Jon Williamson
University of Kent
Federica Russo
University of Amsterdam
Donald Gillies
University College London
1 more

Citations of this work

Philosophers on Drugs.Bennett Holman - 2019 - Synthese 196 (11):4363-4390.
Establishing Causal Claims in Medicine.Jon Williamson - 2019 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 32 (1):33-61.
What is Mechanistic Evidence, and Why Do We Need It for Evidence-Based Policy?Caterina Marchionni & Samuli Reijula - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 73:54-63.

View all 90 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles