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

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Symposium: Evidence in Action

Friday, 4 November 2016
09:00 - 11:45

Chastain J (6th Floor)

Chair: Robyn Bluhm, Michigan State University

Scientific evidence has always played a key role in methodological and philosophical discussions about science. In recent years, however, sparked by the growing popularity of evidence-based policy-making, the role and nature of evidence have also been discussed in political and social contexts, resulting in contentious debates about evidential reasoning in the biomedical, health, social, and policy sciences. This symposium on ‘evidence in action’ aims to advance these discussions. It fosters links between scientific practice and philosophy of science by: analyzing the political dimension of evidence (Russo); investigating aspects of evidential reasoning beyond a narrowly understood ‘inductive logic’ (Reiss); re-appraising the benefits of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) for evidence-based policy-making (Heilmann and Heilmann); and developing an account of the evidence required for causal discovery and extrapolation (Williamson). Each paper puts practical cases and applications at the very heart of its analysis, with cases from the biomedical and health sciences (cancer research and animal models in human medicine) as well as the social sciences (e.g. social policy interventions). Together, the papers aim to make significant inroads into discussing problems related to the contextuality of evidence in these cases, and make contributions to specific debates within the philosophy of science.

Evidential Reasoning Beyond Induction
Julian Reiss, Durham University,
Two Cheers for Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs)
Sarah Heilmann, Dartington Social Research Unit,
Conrad Heilmann, Erasmus University Rotterdam,
Establishing causal claims in medicine
Jon Williamson, University of Kent,


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