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  1. Assessing the Overall Validity of Randomised Controlled Trials.Alexander Krauss - 2021 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 34 (3):159-182.
    In the biomedical, behavioural and social sciences, the leading method used to estimate causal effects is commonly randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that are generally viewed as both the source and justification of the most valid evidence. In studying the foundation and theory behind RCTs, the existing literature analyses important single issues and biases in isolation that influence causal outcomes in trials (such as randomisation, statistical probabilities and placebos). The common account of biased causal inference is described in a general way (...)
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  • Treatment Effectiveness and the Russo–Williamson Thesis, EBM+, and Bradford Hill's Viewpoints.Steven Tresker - 2022 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 34 (3):131-158.
    Establishing the effectiveness of medical treatments is one of the most important aspects of medical practice. Bradford Hill's viewpoints play an important role in inferring causality in medicine,...
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  • Etiological Explanations: Illness Causation Theory.Olaf Dammann - 2020 - Boca Raton, FL, USA: CRC Press.
    Theory of illness causation is an important issue in all biomedical sciences, and solid etiological explanations are needed in order to develop therapeutic approaches in medicine and preventive interventions in public health. Until now, the literature about the theoretical underpinnings of illness causation research has been scarce and fragmented, and lacking a convenient summary. This interdisciplinary book provides a convenient and accessible distillation of the current status of research into this developing field, and adds a personal flavor to the discussion (...)
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  • Establishing Causal Claims in Medicine.Jon Williamson - 2019 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 32 (1):33-61.
    Russo and Williamson put forward the following thesis: in order to establish a causal claim in medicine, one normally needs to establish both that the putative cause and putative effect are appropriately correlated and that there is some underlying mechanism that can account for this correlation. I argue that, although the Russo-Williamson thesis conflicts with the tenets of present-day evidence-based medicine, it offers a better causal epistemology than that provided by present-day EBM because it better explains two key aspects of (...)
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  • Philosophy of Science in Practice in Ecological Model Building.Luana Poliseli, Jeferson G. E. Coutinho, Blandina Viana, Federica Russo & Charbel N. El-Hani - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (4):0-0.
    This article addresses the contributions of the literature on the new mechanistic philosophy of science for the scientific practice of model building in ecology. This is reflected in a one-to-one interdisciplinary collaboration between an ecologist and a philosopher of science during science-in-the-making. We argue that the identification, reconstruction and understanding of mechanisms is context-sensitive, and for this case study mechanistic modeling did not present a normative role but a heuristic one. We expect our study to provides useful epistemic tools for (...)
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  • Approaches in Post‐Experimental Science. The Case of Precision Medicine*.Robert Meunier - 2022 - Berichte Zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 45 (3):373-383.
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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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  • Inference to the Best Explanation as a Theory for the Quality of Mechanistic Evidence in Medicine.Stefan Dragulinescu - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (2):353-372.
    Inference to the Best Explanation is usually employed in the Scientific Realism debates. As far as particular scientific theories are concerned, its most ready usage seems to be that of a theory of confirmation. There are however more uses of IBE, namely as an epistemological theory of testimony and as a means of categorising and justifying the sources of evidence. In this paper, I will present, develop and exemplify IBE as a theory of the quality of evidence - taking examples (...)
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  • Corroborating Evidence‐Based Medicine.Alexander Mebius - 2014 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 20 (6):915-920.
    Proponents of evidence-based medicine have argued convincingly for applying this scientific method to medicine. However, the current methodological framework of the EBM movement has recently been called into question, especially in epidemiology and the philosophy of science. The debate has focused on whether the methodology of randomized controlled trials provides the best evidence available. This paper attempts to shift the focus of the debate by arguing that clinical reasoning involves a patchwork of evidential approaches and that the emphasis on evidence (...)
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  • Inference to the Best Explanation and Mechanisms in Medicine.Stefan Dragulinescu - 2016 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 37 (3):211-232.
    This article considers the prospects of inference to the best explanation as a method of confirming causal claims vis-à-vis the medical evidence of mechanisms. I show that IBE is actually descriptive of how scientists reason when choosing among hypotheses, that it is amenable to the balance/weight distinction, a pivotal pair of concepts in the philosophy of evidence, and that it can do justice to interesting features of the interplay between mechanistic and population level assessments.
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  • Limits to evidential pluralism: multi-method large-N qualitative analysis and the primacy of mechanistic studies.Rosa W. Runhardt - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-23.
    Evidential pluralists, like Federica Russo and Jon Williamson, argue that causal claims should be corroborated by establishing both the existence of a suitable correlation and a suitable mechanism complex. At first glance, this fits well with mixed method research in the social sciences, which often involves a pluralist combination of statistical and mechanistic evidence. However, statistical evidence concerns a population of cases, while mechanistic evidence is found in individual case studies. How should researchers combine such general statistical evidence and specific (...)
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  • Mechanisms and Difference-Making.Stefan Dragulinescu - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (1):29-54.
    I argue that difference-making should be a crucial element for evaluating the quality of evidence for mechanisms, especially with respect to the robustness of mechanisms, and that it should take central stage when it comes to the general role played by mechanisms in establishing causal claims in medicine. The difference- making of mechanisms should provide additional compelling reasons to accept the gist of Russo-Williamson thesis and include mechanisms in the protocols for Evidence- Based Medicine, as the EBM+ research group has (...)
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  • The Application of Evidence-Based Medicine Methodologies in Sports Science: Problems and Solutions.William Levack-Payne - 2022 - Dissertation, University of Kent
    This thesis analyses the use of 'Evidence-Based' methodologies of evidence assessment and intervention and policy design from medicine, and their use in sport and exercise science. It argues that problems exist with the application of Evidence-Based methodologies in sports science, meaning that the quality of evidence used to inform decision-making is lower than is often assumed. This thesis also offers realistic solutions to these problems, broadly arguing for the importance of taking evidence from mechanistic studies seriously, in addition to evidence (...)
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  • Philosophers on Drugs.Bennett Holman - 2019 - Synthese 196 (11):4363-4390.
    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 (...)
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  • Psychopathy: Morally Incapacitated Persons.Heidi Maibom - 2017 - In Thomas Schramme & Steven Edwards (eds.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Medicine. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 1109-1129.
    After describing the disorder of psychopathy, I examine the theories and the evidence concerning the psychopaths’ deficient moral capacities. I first examine whether or not psychopaths can pass tests of moral knowledge. Most of the evidence suggests that they can. If there is a lack of moral understanding, then it has to be due to an incapacity that affects not their declarative knowledge of moral norms, but their deeper understanding of them. I then examine two suggestions: it is their deficient (...)
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  • Mechanistic Information as Evidence in Decision-Oriented Science.José Luis Luján, Oliver Todt & Juan Bautista Bengoetxea - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (2):293-306.
    Mechanistic information is used in the field of risk assessment in order to clarify two controversial methodological issues, the selection of inference guides and the definition of standards of evidence. In this paper we present an analysis of the concept of mechanistic information in risk assessment by recurring to previous philosophical analyses of mechanistic explanation. Our conclusion is that the conceptual analysis of mechanistic explanation facilitates a better characterization of the concept of mechanistic information. However, it also shows that the (...)
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  • The Structure of Causal Evidence Based on Eliminative Induction.Wolfgang Pietsch - 2014 - Topoi 33 (2):421-435.
    It is argued that in deterministic contexts evidence for causal relations states whether a boundary condition makes a difference or not to a phenomenon. In order to substantiate the analysis, I show that this difference/indifference making is the basic type of evidence required for eliminative induction in the tradition of Francis Bacon and John Stuart Mill. To this purpose, an account of eliminative induction is proposed with two distinguishing features: it includes a method to establish the causal irrelevance of boundary (...)
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  • Hunting Side Effects and Explaining Them: Should We Reverse Evidence Hierarchies Upside Down? [REVIEW]Barbara Osimani - 2013 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice (2):1-18.
    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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  • EnviroGenomarkers: The Interplay Between Mechanisms and Difference Making in Establishing Causal Claims.Federica Russo & Jon Williamson - 2012 - Medicine Studies 3 (4):249-262.
    According to Russo and Williamson :157–170, 2007, Hist Philos Life Sci 33:389–396, 2011a, Philos Sci 1:47–69, 2011b), in order to establish a causal claim of the form, ‘C is a cause of E’, one typically needs evidence that there is an underlying mechanism between C and E as well as evidence that C makes a difference to E. This thesis has been used to argue that hierarchies of evidence, as championed by evidence-based movements, tend to give primacy to evidence of (...)
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  • Broadening the Scope of Our Understanding of Mechanisms: Lessons From the History of the Morning-After Pill.Christopher ChoGlueck - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):2223-2252.
    Philosophers of science and medicine now aspire to provide useful, socially relevant accounts of mechanism. Existing accounts have forged the path by attending to mechanisms in historical context, scientific practice, the special sciences, and policy. Yet, their primary focus has been on more proximate issues related to therapeutic effectiveness. To take the next step toward social relevance, we must investigate the challenges facing researchers, clinicians, and policy makers involving values and social context. Accordingly, we learn valuable lessons about the connections (...)
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  • Mechanistic reasoning and the problem of masking.Michael Edward Wilde - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):1-16.
    At least historically, it was common for medical practitioners to believe causal hypotheses on the basis of standalone mechanistic reasoning. However, it is now widely acknowledged that standalone mechanistic reasoning is insufficient for appropriately believing a causal hypothesis in medicine, thanks in part to the so-called problem of masking. But standalone mechanistic reasoning is not the only type of mechanistic reasoning. When exactly then is it appropriate to believe a causal hypothesis on the basis of mechanistic reasoning? In this paper, (...)
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  • Drug Labels and Reproductive Health: How Values and Gender Norms Shape Regulatory Science at the FDA.Christopher ChoGlueck - 2019 - Dissertation, Indiana University
    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is fraught with controversies over the role of values and politics in regulatory science, especially with drugs in the realm of reproductive health. Philosophers and science studies scholars have investigated the ways in which social context shapes medical knowledge through value judgments, and feminist scholars and activists have criticized sexism and injustice in reproductive medicine. Nonetheless, there has been no systematic study of values and gender norms in FDA drug regulation. I focus on (...)
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  • How Can Causal Explanations Explain?Jon Williamson - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):257-275.
    The mechanistic and causal accounts of explanation are often conflated to yield a ‘causal-mechanical’ account. This paper prizes them apart and asks: if the mechanistic account is correct, how can causal explanations be explanatory? The answer to this question varies according to how causality itself is understood. It is argued that difference-making, mechanistic, dualist and inferentialist accounts of causality all struggle to yield explanatory causal explanations, but that an epistemic account of causality is more promising in this regard.
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  • Grading the Quality of Evidence of Mechanisms.Stefan Dragulinescu - unknown - Dissertation, University of Kent
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  • Causal Models and Evidential Pluralism in Econometrics.Alessio Moneta & Federica Russo - 2014 - Journal of Economic Methodology 21 (1):54-76.
    Social research, from economics to demography and epidemiology, makes extensive use of statistical models in order to establish causal relations. The question arises as to what guarantees the causal interpretation of such models. In this paper we focus on econometrics and advance the view that causal models are ‘augmented’ statistical models that incorporate important causal information which contributes to their causal interpretation. The primary objective of this paper is to argue that causal claims are established on the basis of a (...)
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  • Resolving Empirical Controversies with Mechanistic Evidence.Mariusz Maziarz - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9957-9978.
    The results of econometric modeling are fragile in the sense that minor changes in estimation techniques or sample can lead to statistical models that support inconsistent causal hypotheses. The fragility of econometric results undermines making conclusive inferences from the empirical literature. I argue that the program of evidential pluralism, which originated in the context of medicine and encapsulates to the normative reading of the Russo-Williamson Thesis that causal claims need the support of both difference-making and mechanistic evidence, offers a ground (...)
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  • Financializing Epistemic Norms in Contemporary Biomedical Innovation.Mark Robinson - 2019 - Synthese 196 (11):4391-4407.
    The rapid, recent emergence of new medical knowledge models has engendered a dizzying number of new medical initiatives, programs and approaches. Fields such as evidence-based medicine and translational medicine all promise a renewed relationship between knowledge and medicine. The question for philosophy and other fields has been whether these new models actually achieve their promises to bring about better kinds of medical knowledge—a question that compels scholars to analyze each model’s epistemic claims. Yet, these analyses may miss critical components that (...)
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  • Making Sense of Downward Causation in Manipulationism (with Illustrations From Cancer Research).Christophe Malaterre - 2011 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences (33):537-562.
    Many researchers consider cancer to have molecular causes, namely mutated genes that result in abnormal cell proliferation (e.g. Weinberg 1998). For others, the causes of cancer are to be found not at the molecular level but at the tissue level where carcinogenesis consists of disrupted tissue organization with downward causation effects on cells and cellular components (e.g. Sonnenschein and Soto 2008). In this contribution, I ponder how to make sense of such downward causation claims. Adopting a manipulationist account of causation (...)
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  • Standards of Evidence and Causality in Regulatory Science: Risk and Benefit Assessment.José Luis Luján & Oliver Todt - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 80:82-89.
  • 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 Russo–Williamson Theses in the Social Sciences: Causal Inference Drawing on Two Types of Evidence.François Claveau - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (4):806-813.
  • The Russo–Williamson Theses in the Social Sciences: Causal Inference Drawing on Two Types of Evidence.François Claveau - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (4):806-813.
    This article examines two theses formulated by Russo and Williamson in their study of causal inference in the health sciences. The two theses are assessed against evidence from a specific case in the social sciences, i.e., research on the institutional determinants of the aggregate unemployment rate. The first Russo–Williamson Thesis is that a causal claim can only be established when it is jointly supported by difference-making and mechanistic evidence. This thesis is shown not to hold. While researchers in my case (...)
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