Investigating the epistemic role of ‘mechanisms’ within biomedicine

Philosophers of science have insisted that evidence of underlying mechanisms is required to support claims about the effects of medical interventions. Yet evidence about mechanisms does not feature on dominant evidence-based medicine “hierarchies.” In this session we explore what it means for a ‘mechanism’ to count as evidence for efficacy and effectiveness.

Core reading: Howick J (2012). Exposing the vanities – and a qualified defense – of mechanistic reasoning in health care decision making. Philosophy of Science, 78(5):926-940.