Evidence in action

There’s going to be a symposium on Evidence in Action at the annual Philosophy of Science Association conference, PSA 2016, to be held in Atlanta, USA. The symposium will take place 9-11.45am on Friday 4th November.

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: 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.

Talks will include:

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,
The explanatory role of the Russo-Williamson Thesis (RWT)
Jon Williamson, University of Kent,

There will also be a fourth speaker, to be confirmed.

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