PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Measurement and Causality in Medical Science (Sponsored by the International Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable)

Thursday, 3 November 2016
09:00 - 10:30

Piedmont 5 (12th Floor)

Chair: Leah McClimans, University of South Carolina

Medical science seeks to quantify various phenomena that are hard to quantify. Among these, the quantitative measurement of “causal effects” of exposures or treatments on health outcomes is particularly interesting from a philosophical perspective, since very little philosophical work seeks to understand how causation or related phenomena could be quantifiable. Dismissing such measures out of hand as meaningless is irresponsible given their centrality in medical research. This symposium makes a start on identifying and resolving some of the conceptual difficulties the medical sciences face in devising meaningful causal measures and understanding them.
These questions are pursued with particular reference to diagnostic tests, measures of attributability, heritability, and the role of measurement in evidence based medicine. The participants in the symposium include both philosophers of science and working scientists.

How Much Mortality Does Obesity Cause? Measuring Causality in Populations
Alex Broadbent, University of Johannesburg,
Olaf Dammann, Tufts University School of Medicine,
Zinhle Mncube, University of Johannesburg,
How Evidence Based Medicine brings the Connection between Evidence and Measurement into Focus
Benjamin Smart, University of Johannesburg,
Clinical Outcome Assessments and Epistemic Risk
Leah McClimans, University of South Carolina,


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