‘Placebos’ and the logic of placebo comparison

Biology and Philosophy 27 (3):419-432 (2012)
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Abstract

Robin Nunn has argued that we should stop using the terms ‘placebo’ and ‘placebo effect’. I argue in support of Nunn’s position by considering the logic of why we perform placebo comparisons. Like all comparisons, placebo comparison is just a case of comparing one thing with another, but it is a mistake, I argue, to think of placebo comparison as a case where something is compared to ‘a placebo’. Rather, placebo comparison should be understood as a situation which sets-up the treatment and control groups in a particular way; not as a case involving objects or procedures called ‘placebos’ employed in order to control for ‘placebo effects’

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Andrew Turner
Nottingham University

References found in this work

Are Rcts the Gold Standard?Nancy Cartwright - 2007 - Biosocieties 1 (1):11-20.
Evidence: Philosophy of Science Meets Medicine.John Worrall - 2010 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 16 (2):356-362.
Evidence in Medicine and Evidence-Based Medicine.John Worrall - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (6):981–1022.

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