’Scientific disagreement and evidential pluralism: Lessons from the studies on hypercholesterolemia’

Next week, I am presenting my paper ’Scientific disagreement and evidential pluralism: Lessons from the studies on hypercholesterolemia’ (co-authored by Veli-Pekka Parkkinen and Federica Russo) at ECAP9 in Munich.  Here is my abstract:

“Disagreement between scientists may concern a number of epistemic, socio-political or psychological factors. In this paper, we offer an account of the `loci and reasons’ for disagreement at different stages of the scientific process. We then present a controversial episode of the health sciences: hypercholesterolemia. The causes and effects of high levels of cholesterol in blood have been long debated, and some are still under debate. In this contribution, we focus on some selected loci and reasons for disagreement that occurred between 1920 and 1994 in the studies on hypercholesterolemia.”


For a full version of the paper see: https://kent.academia.edu/ChristianWallmann


My paper is also trying to confirm the Russo-Williamson Thesis and argues that to establish a causal link between heart disease and serum cholesterol, researchers considered both evidence of mechanisms and evidence of correlation. I can’t say too much about the Russo-Williamson Thesis in my talk, but luckily Michael Wilde, a fellow EBM+ project member of mine will be speaking about “Further Disambiguating the Russo-Williamson Thesis”. Here is his abstract:


“The Russo-Williamson thesis maintains that establishing a causal claim in medicine requires establishing that the putative cause and effect are correlated and linked by a mechanism. The thesis has proved quite controversial. But it is likely that some of the controversy is the result of misinterpreting the thesis, since formulations of the thesis have been ambiguous. Phyllis Illari argues for a disambiguated version of the thesis. However, Jeremy Howick has proposed a number of potential counterexamples to this disambiguated Russo-Williamson thesis. In this paper, I provide a response to these proposed counterexamples, one that requires further disambiguating the Russo-Williamson thesis.”


The European Society for Analytic Philosophy (ESAP) organises the European Congress of Analytic Philosophy every three years. This time it will take place at LMU Munich, Germany, from August 21 to 26, 2017. The goal of this congress is to bring together analytic philosophers from Europe and all over the world to discuss their work and to exchange ideas. There will also be four plenary speakers and nine panel speakers as well as several invited symposia representing the diverse field of analytic philosophy. In total there will be more than 500 talks.


I am very much looking forward to this event. The program looks terrific. Having lived in Munich myself for several years, I can also just say that it is a really lovely city.


Words by Christian Wallman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *