Philosophers on drugs

Synthese 196 (11):4363-4390 (2019)
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Abstract

There are some philosophical questions that can be answered without attention to the social context in which evidence is produced and distributed.ing away from social context is an excellent way to ignore messy details and lay bare the underlying structure of the limits of inference. Idealization is entirely appropriate when one is essentially asking: In the best of all possible worlds, what am I entitled to infer? Yet, philosophers’ concerns often go beyond this domain. As an example I examine the debate on mechanistic evidence and then reevaluate a canonical case study in this debate. I show that for the assessment of actual evidence, produced in a world that is far from ideal, omission of the social aspects of medical epistemology leads philosophers to draw the wrong lessons from cases they take as paradigmatic cases for their views. I close by arguing that social epistemology provides an avenue to incorporate these complications and provides the necessary framework to understand medical evidence.

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Bennett Holman
Yonsei University

References found in this work

Knowledge in a social world.Alvin I. Goldman - 1999 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Fate of Knowledge.Helen E. Longino - 2001 - Princeton University Press.
The philosophy of evidence-based medicine.Jeremy H. Howick - 2011 - Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, BMJ Books.
Interpreting causality in the health sciences.Federica Russo & Jon Williamson - 2007 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (2):157 – 170.

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