Posts Tagged With: evidence based health care

History and Philosophy of Evidence-Based Health Care (EBHC)

Here is an announcement I received of an unusual short course on History and Philosophy of Evidence-Based Health Care (EBHC):  “Historical anecdotes are often easier to grasp than numbers,” the ad reads, but I hope they’re not going to be recommending the latter be replaced by the former?


The relationship between medicine and philosophy has a distinguished history. Maimonides, Avicenna, Galen, Descartes, and Locke were all philosophers and medical doctors. More recently, Peter Medawar and Archie Cochrane were strongly influenced by Karl Popper. There is an increasing body of evidence that combining History and Philosophy of Science on the one hand, and health care on the other creates synergies for the mutual benefit of all disciplines.

The course will consider:

  • How and why did the idea that comparative studies were necessary to inform health care decisions replace other ‘methods’ such as reasoning from more basic sciences and ‘expertise’?
  • Can average results be applied to individuals?
  • What is the role of values?

We believe that the history and philosophy of science is an integrated discipline, and we will explore these issues with appeal to current and historical examples.… it is fair to say that not very much attention was paid by the originators of EBM to the philosophy of science… One hopes that the attention of philosophers will be drawn to these questions (Haynes, 2002)

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence – David Hume

History of science without philosophy of science is blind … philosophy of science without history of science is empty – Norwood Russell Hanson

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