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Jonathan Fuller (IHPST, University of Toronto, Canada) – Epidemiologic Evidence: Use at Your Own Risk?
19 June 2019 | 11 h 00 min - 12 h 30 min
Jonathan Fuller is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST) at the University of Toronto, Chair of the Toronto Philosophy of Medicine and Healthcare Network, and Research Associate with the African Centre for Epistemology and Philosophy of Science at the University of Johannesburg. He is also on the International Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable steering committee and he hosts the blog "Philosophers on Medicine".
Epidemiologic Evidence: Use at Your Own Risk?
What meaning does epidemiologic evidence have for the individual patient? In evidence-based medicine (EBM), the role of epidemiologic evidence is to measure the patient’s risk of the outcome or the change in their risk due to an intervention. The patient’s risk is commonly understood as an individual probability. The problem of understanding epidemiologic evidence and risk thus becomes the challenge of interpreting individual patient probabilities. I argue that the patient’s risk is interpreted ontically, as a propensity. After exploring formidable problems with this interpretation in the medical context, I propose an epistemic reinterpretation of individual patient probabilities as credences. On this view, the role of epidemiologic evidence is to inform medical uncertainty.