Institutt for filosofi og førstesemesterstudier


Anders Reiersgaard: Evidential knowledge in Evidence based medicine

Høstens andre instituttseminar er ved Anders Reiersgaard. Innlegget er på engelsk. Alle er velkommen!


"The main aim of Evidence-based medicine is, as the name indeed implies, to base clinical practice on evidence. Ideally, “evidence” refers to “scientific data”, primarily of population-based (clinical epidemiology) research. If such evidence is not available, EBM makes use of the best evidence available, which, depending on the clinical situation, may vary from use of high quality randomized controlled trials to the use of personal experience. Further, evidence does not improve patient-care directly, but equips clinicians with the information needed to make recommendations to patients which would lead to the best (or at least better) outcomes for them. Thus, the essence of EBM is to use evidence as basis to improve clinical outcomes for individual patients in health care practice. In addition to the variations of what counts as evidence, the assessment of evidence is relative to practical considerations, whereby personal clinical experience and patient’s values are taken into consideration.

In my presentation, I will focus on some epistemological issues in EBM concerning what evidential knowledge entail. Answers to this question require clarification of what kinds of knowledge that is constitutive of EBM in general, and of how the different kinds of knowledge are related. I will attempt to demonstrate that both scientific and non-scientific knowledge play important roles in EBM. On basis of this discussion, I will identify three different concepts of EBM, representing differences in how EBM is understood, both by proponents and opponents."