Evidence and Objectivity:
Evidence when n=1

A Mental Health and Justice Seminar

with Nancy Cartwright and Sherri Roush 

The Wellcome-funded Mental Health and Justice project will hold a research seminar on Monday, 30 October, 5-7pm.  The seminar will address the logic and epistemology of single-case evidence.

ABSTRACT:  We have become accustomed to the idea that the evidence base in medicine comes in large part from population-based studies.  But both in the clinical encounter and in legal proceedings, that evidence must be brought to bear on a case that involves a single individual.  The purpose of this seminar is to explore the conceptual issues and practical challenges of adducing evidence (whether in clinical or in legal settings) in the interpretation of single cases,  i.e. cases where n=1.

FORMAT:  The format of the seminar will be unusual. We will begin with brief presentations from three researchers affiliated with the Mental Health and Justice research project.  In each case these presentations will involve concrete research and/or public policy challenges that require grappling with single-case evidence. Responses will then be provided by two prominent philosophers of science who have tackled the problem of single-case evidence: Professor Nancy Cartwright and Professor Sherri Roush. Each will introduce their approach to single-case evidence and consider how to apply those approaches to the concrete problems at issue.

The seminar is open to the public.  Participation is free but seating is limited.  Please register a place by contacting felix.warnock@kcl.ac.uk

Date / Time:Monday 30 October, 17.00 – c.19.00

Venue:Seminar Rm 1 (Ground Floor), IoPPN, 16 de Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, SE5 8AF

Nancy Cartwright is Professor of Philosophy at Durham University and UC Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at UC San Diego.  A past winner of the MacArthur Fellowship, Fellow of the British Academy, and member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (among many other awards and honours), her books include How the Laws of Physics Lie (1983), Nature’s Capacity and their Measurement (1989) and (with Jeremy Hardie) Evidence-Based Policy: A Practical Guide to Doing it Better (2012).  She currently directs the ERC-funded Knowledge for Use project at Durham University.

Sherrilyn Roush was until recently the Sowerbie Professor of Philosophy and Medicine at Kings College London; she has this year taken up a new post as Professor of Philosophy at UCLA.  Roush previously held positions at UC Berkeley and Rice University.  She is the author of Tracking Truth: Knowledge, Evidence and Science (2005).