The philosophy of medicine and its historical background

What is the philosophy of medicine? The topics covered by this seminar series are introduced via their historical roots. We look at methodological debates in the history of medicine, from the origins of comparative trials, the use of placebos, and probabilistic thinking in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through the growth of observational and cohort studies in epidemiology in the twentieth century to the birth of the so-called ‘Evidence-Based Medicine’ (EBM) movement in the 1980s.

Core reading: Howick, J. (2011) The Philosophy of Evidence-Based Medicine BMJ Books, Chapters 1-3