Many prominent physicians and journalists have expressed arguments supporting medical nihilism, which is the view that we should have little confidence in the effectiveness of novel medical interventions. In this talk Dr Stegenga assesses the case for medical nihilism.

Salient arguments are based on the frequency of failed medical interventions, the extent of misleading and discordant evidence in clinical research, the sketchy theoretical framework on which many medical interventions are based, and the malleability of even the very best empirical methods employed in clinical research. To evaluate medical nihilism with care he articulates the argument in formal terms. If we attend more broadly to our evidence, malleable methods, and background theories, and reason with our best inductive framework, then he argues that our confidence in the effectiveness of most novel medical interventions ought to be low.

17:30 to 18:30, Sir James Knott Hall, Trevelyan College

Directions to Sir James Knott Hall, Trevelyan College

Map – Trevelyan College is denoted as building No. 9

Email the IAS for more information about this event


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