Philosophy of Science

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    Statins and CVD (Cardio-Vascular Disease): Now It’s Personal!

Statins and CVD (Cardio-Vascular Disease): Now It’s Personal!

29 June 2021|

What does the evidence say about the effectiveness of statins and about the balance between effectiveness and possible adverse side-effects? John Worrall – a long-time analyst of evidence in medicine – has recently had personal reason to reconsider these questions.

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    How studying the history and philosophy of RNA can help us understand COVID-19

How studying the history and philosophy of RNA can help us understand COVID-19

25 May 2021|

How can the philosophy of science help inform our response to COVID-19? Stephan Guttinger looks at the history and philosophy of ribonucleic acid (RNA), a central but often overlooked molecule in the story of the pandemic.

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    Science and policy in extremis, part 2: the limits of SAGE’s neutrality and independence

Science and policy in extremis, part 2: the limits of SAGE’s neutrality and independence

20 April 2021|

Scientific advice cannot be completely neutral or independent, says Jonathan Birch. But records from autumn 2020 suggest that the Cabinet Office leant on SAGE to build in optimistic assumptions about the government’s ability to control the pandemic.

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    What are “scientific models”, and how much confidence can we place in them?

What are “scientific models”, and how much confidence can we place in them?

16 February 2021|

Modelling is vital if we are to control COVID-19, but it is not infallible. In this post, Roman Frigg and James Nguyen explain how epidemiological models work and consider the uncertainty inherent in their predictions.

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    Bad data and flawed models? Fact-checking Winsberg et al.’s case against lockdowns

Bad data and flawed models? Fact-checking Winsberg et al.’s case against lockdowns

26 January 2021|

Can the justification for current COVID restrictions be challenged on scientific grounds? Philippe van Basshuysen and Lucie White look at the evidence used by Winsberg et al. in their case against lockdowns.

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    Science and policy in extremis, part 1: what can we learn from the UK’s initial response to COVID-19?

Science and policy in extremis, part 1: what can we learn from the UK’s initial response to COVID-19?

22 December 2020|

SAGE uses a set of assumptions called the “reasonable worst-case scenario” in its pandemic planning. In this post, Jonathan Birch looks at the group’s minutes and documents from early 2020 and argues that over-reliance on these assumptions led to costly delays.

What unfolded in the UK in the spring of 2020 was a national tragedy within the global tragedy […]

The mind-body problem

3 November 2020|

What’s really at stake in the mind-body debate? Jonathan Birch looks at some of the explanatory differences in approaches to the metaphysics of consciousness.

Ideally Value-Free Coronavirus Science

9 September 2020|

How does the role of scientist relate to the role of policy-maker? Philip Thonemann looks at coronavirus science, public policy and the value free ideal.

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    A Virus Is Not a Thing, Part 3: What virology can tell us about philosophy

A Virus Is Not a Thing, Part 3: What virology can tell us about philosophy

25 August 2020|

How can findings in virology help answer ontological questions of process and substance? In the final post in this series, Stephan Guttinger looks at viral life cycles and the role of intrinsic properties.

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    A Virus Is Not a Thing, Part 2: Do viruses jump? Process-thinking and the question of pandemics

A Virus Is Not a Thing, Part 2: Do viruses jump? Process-thinking and the question of pandemics

22 July 2020|

What happens when a virus crosses species? Stephan Guttinger looks at viral jumps and the origins of pandemics.