Evidence in medicine and evidence-based medicine

Philosophy Compass 2 (6):981–1022 (2007)
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It is surely obvious that medicine, like any other rational activity, must be based on evidence. The interest is in the details: how exactly are the general principles of the logic of evidence to be applied in medicine? Focussing on the development, and current claims of the ‘Evidence-Based Medicine’ movement, this article raises a number of difficulties with the rationales that have been supplied in particular for the ‘evidence hierarchy’ and for the very special role within that hierarchy of randomized controlled trials (and meta-analyses of the results of randomized controlled trials). The point is not at all to question the application of a scientific approach to evidence in medicine, but, on the contrary, to indicate a number of areas where philosophers of science can contribute to a proper implementation of exactly that scientific-evidential approach.



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Citations of this work

Why Experimental Balance is Still a Reason to Randomize.David Teira & Marco Martinez - forthcoming - The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
Mechanisms: what are they evidence for in evidence-based medicine?Holly Andersen - 2012 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 18 (5):992-999.
Philosophers on drugs.Bennett Holman - 2019 - Synthese 196 (11):4363-4390.
Evidence: philosophy of science meets medicine.John Worrall - 2010 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 16 (2):356-362.

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References found in this work

Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Nature's capacities and their measurement.Nancy Cartwright - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Scientific reasoning: the Bayesian approach.Peter Urbach & Colin Howson - 1993 - Chicago: Open Court. Edited by Peter Urbach.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):201-202.

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