Contributors: Stefan Dragulinescu, Veli-Pekka Parkkinen, Jon Williamson
Science is largely involved with discovering mechanisms. While protocols have been developed in evidence-based medicine for grading evidence of correlations as a means to establish causal claims in medicine and public health, much less has been said about how to grade evidence of mechanisms on the path to mechanism discovery in science – this task is typically left to the intuition of individual researchers. With the advent of ‘big data’ and ‘systems’ science, eyeballing the evidence and appealing to intuition is becoming less of an option: more explicit methods are needed. This project will focus on mechanism discovery in physics and biology and will ask:
- What are the various kinds of evidence of mechanisms in physics and biology?
- How does evidence of mechanisms in physics relate to that in biology?
- How can case studies of mechanism discovery be used to shed light on the way in which different kinds of evidence of mechanisms should be graded?
- How can philosophical work on evidence shed light on how scientific evidence of mechanisms should be graded?
- Can one develop simple protocols for grading evidence of mechanisms, analogous to the GRADE system of evidence-based medicine?
- Is there more to grading scientific evidence of mechanisms than can be gleaned from philosophical theories of evidence?
- Which philosophical theories of evidence best fit the use of mechanistic evidence in science?
Parkkinen, V-P: Experiment, downward causation and interventionist levels of explanation. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 2017. DOI: 10.1080/02698595.2017.1316116
Stefan Dragulinescu: Inference to the best explanation as a theory for the quality of mechanistic evidence in medicine, European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2016. doi 10.1007/s13194-016-0165-x
Veli-Pekka Parkkinen: Robustness and evidence of mechanisms in early experimental atherosclerosis research, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 60:44-55, 2016. doi 10.1016/j.shpsc.2016.09.006
Stefan Dragulinescu: Inference to the best explanation and mechanisms in medicine, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 37:211–232, 2016.
Stefan Dragulinescu: Mechanisms and difference making, Acta Analytica, 2016.
Michael Wilde & Jon Williamson: Models in medicine, in H. Kincaid, J. Simon & M. Solomon (eds), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Medicine. Routledge, pp. 271-284, 2016. ISBN: 978-1-13-884679-1
Michael Wilde & Jon Williamson: Evidence and Epistemic Causality, in A. von Eye & W. Wiedermann (eds), Statistics and Causality: methods for applied empirical research. Wiley, pp. 31-41, 2016. ISBN: 978-1-118-94704-3
Anders Strand & Veli-Pekka Parkkinen: Causation in evidence-based medicine: in reply to Kerry et al., Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 21(3):532-534, 2015.
Jon Williamson: Deliberation, Judgement and the Nature of Evidence, Economics and Philosophy 31(1): 27-65, 2015. doi: 10.1017/S026626711400039X
4-5 September 2017: Evidence of Mechanisms, University of Kent.
10.30 – 11.50 Nancy Cartwright – Two Approaches to EBHP: Intervention-centring, Context-centring. Slides. Audio.
Workshop: Explanation and evidence of mechanisms across the sciences, University of Kent, 16 May 2016.
9.00-10.00 Jürgen Landes – ‘Role of mechanisms in causal inference in pharmacology’
Workshop: Processes, University of Kent, 12 May 2016
9.15-11.00 John Dupre (Exeter) – ‘Process, Organisms, and Kinds.’