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A Pragmatist Theory of Evidence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022

Abstract

Two approaches to evidential reasoning compete in the biomedical and social sciences: the experimental and the pragmatist. Whereas experimentalism has received considerable philosophical analysis and support since the times of Bacon and Mill (and continues to enjoy attention and support in very recent work on causation and evidence), pragmatism about evidence has been neither articulated nor defended. The overall aim is to fill this gap and develop a theory that articulates the latter. The main ideas of the theory will be illustrated and supported by a case study on the smoking/lung cancer controversy in the 1950s.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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Footnotes

A previous draft of this paper was discussed with the Centre for Humanities Engaging Science and Society (CHESS) research group at Durham University and improved considerably. Thanks also to Bert Leuridan for comments. Financial support from projects FFI2008-01580/Consolider Ingenio CSD2009-0056 and FFI2011-23267 of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation is gratefully acknowledged.

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