Conference: Mechanisms In Medicine

03/07/2017 – 05/07/2017 all-day
University of Kent
Canterbury CT2 7NZ
Christian Wallman

On the behalf of the Centre for Reasoning at the University of Kent and the EBM+ consortium, I am pleased to announce a three day conference on mechanisms in medicine in July 2017 in Canterbury.

The conference brings together philosophers, medical practitioners and researchers. The conference will be of great benefit for everyone interested in employing evidence of mechanisms in medicine.  It is the main conference of the Evaluating evidence in medicine project, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and will be a great opportunity to present the results of our research during the last 2 years. I am very much  looking forward to the event, its invited and contributed talks, to exchange ideas over social events and (also) to its organisation.

Keynote speakers

Raffaela Campaner (University of Bologna)

Daniel Commenges (Bordeaux Population Health Research Center)

Jeffery Aronson (Oxford University)

Stathis Psillos (University of Athens)

Daniel Steel (The University of British Columbia)

Kurt Straif (International Agency for Research on Cancer)

John Worrall (London School of Economics)


Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is a relatively recent technique for supporting clinical decisions by the current best evidence. While it is uncontroversial that we should use the current best evidence in clinical decision making, it is highly controversial as to what the best evidence is. EBM considers evidence from clinical trials, in particular, randomised controlled trials and systematic reviews of those trials, to be the best evidence. On the other hand, evidence of mechanisms that is obtained by means other than clinical trials is considered to be of low quality.

However, there is a growing body of literature that highlights the many benefits of considering evidence of mechanisms alongside evidence from clinical trials. For instance, evidence of mechanisms is crucial for interpreting clinical trials, establishing a causal claim, and extrapolating from the trial population to the treatment population.

This conference seeks to explore whether and in which ways evidence of mechanism may improve medical decision making. The conference will bring together philosophers and medical researchers.

Call for papers

Please submit an abstract of up to 500 words on or before 1st February 2017 via email to The final decision on submissions will be made by 1st March.  A special session will be dedicated to contributions submitted by PhD candidates.

Contributions should address questions such as the following:

  • How can we get evidence of mechanisms in medicine?
  • How can evidence of mechanisms best be considered alongside evidence of correlation to evaluate causal claims in medical research and health policy?
  • How can quality of evidence of mechanisms be characterised?
  • Which accounts of causality best fit the programme for integrating evidence of mechanisms with evidence of correlation?
  • How can evidence of mechanisms be employed in extrapolation?
  • How can evidence of mechanisms inform statistical and graphical models in medicine?


Registration is free but compulsory. There are a limited number of places so please register early. Please register via email to

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