Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1318-1329 (2015)
AbstractJohn Worrall and Nancy Cartwright have both argued that randomized controlled trials are “testing the wrong theory.” They claim that RCTs are designed to test inferences about the causal relationships in the study population, but this does not guarantee a justified inference about the causal relationships in the more diverse population in clinical practice. In this article I argue that the epistemology of theory testing in trials is more complicated than either Worrall’s or Cartwright’s accounts suggest. I illustrate this more complex theoretical structure with case studies in medical theory testing from Alzheimer’s research and anticancer drugs in personalized medicine
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References found in this work
Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs for Generalized Causal Inference.William R. Shadish - 2001 - Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Are RCTs the Gold Standard?Nancy Cartwright - 2007 - In Causal Powers: What Are They? Why Do We Need Them? What Can Be Done with Them and What Cannot?
Evidence: Philosophy of Science Meets Medicine.John Worrall - 2010 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 16 (2):356-362.
Questioning the Methodologic Superiority of 'Placebo' Over 'Active' Controlled Trials.Jeremy Howick - 2009 - American Journal of Bioethics 9 (9):34-48.
Citations of this work
Evidence for Personalised Medicine: Mechanisms, Correlation, and New Kinds of Black Box.Mary Jean Walker, Justin Bourke & Katrina Hutchison - 2019 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 40 (2):103-121.
Treatment effectiveness, generalizability, and the explanatory/pragmatic-trial distinction.Steven Tresker - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-29.
Judging Quality and Coordination in Biomarker Diagnostic Development.Spencer Phillips Hey - 2015 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 30 (2):207-227.
Patient-Specific Devices and Population-Level Evidence: Evaluating Therapeutic Interventions with Inherent Variation.Mary Jean Walker - 2018 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 21 (3):335-345.
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