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Reinforced reasoning in medicine

Auker-Howlett, Daniel, Wilde, Michael (2019) Reinforced reasoning in medicine. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, . ISSN 1356-1294. E-ISSN 1365-2753. (doi:10.1111/jep.13269) (KAR id:75943)


Some philosophers have argued that evidence of underlying mechanisms does not provide evidence for the effectiveness of a medical intervention. One such argument appeals to the unreliability of mechanistic reasoning. However, mechanistic reasoning is not the only way that evidence of mechanisms might provide evidence of effectiveness. A more reliable type of reasoning may be distinguished by appealing to recent work on evidential pluralism in the epistemology of medicine. A case study from virology provides an example of this so‐called reinforced reasoning in medicine. It is argued that in this case study, the available evidence of underlying mechanisms did in fact play a role in providing evidence in favour of a medical intervention. This paper therefore adds a novel and recent case study to the literature in support of evidential pluralism in medicine.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/jep.13269
Projects: Evaluating Evidence in Medicine
Uncontrolled keywords: evidence‐based medicine; evidential pluralism; mechanisms; mechanistic reasoning; reinforced reasoning; virology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
R Medicine
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council (
Depositing User: Michael Wilde
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2019 07:47 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 17:18 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Auker-Howlett, Daniel.

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Wilde, Michael.

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