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Centre for Humanities Engaging Science and Society


Colleagues are very welcome at the following events hosted by CHESS and K4U (ERC project) this academic year

Evidence Synthesis by Building a Case (Workshop 2): Amalgamation and the Principle of Total Evidence

3rd May 2016, 13:00 to 17:00, Old Library, Grey College, Prof Monika Schnitzer, Prof Jon Williamson, Sarah Heilmann

IAS Theme 2015/16: Evidence

Organised by Professor Julian Reiss (Durham University)

The Principle of Total Evidence is the recommendation to use all the available evidence when estimating the probability of a hypothesis (Carnap 1947). While seemingly uncontroversial, upon reflection the principle is more problematic than at first sight. On the one hand, it is, at least implicitly, denied by proponents of evidence-based approaches in the sciences: they recommend instead only to use evidence that has passed a certain quality threshold. On the other, what the principle really entails depends greatly on how to interpret ‘available’. Does it mean ‘known by the agent who makes the probability estimate’ or ‘known by the community of researchers’ or ‘knowable after a suitable search period’? Might it entail a demand to make new observations and experiments?



Monika Schnitzer, Department of Economics, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich

The case for evidence based policy and the difficulties of implementing it


Paul Pearce, Defence and Security Analysis Division, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

Supporting Evidence Based Decision Making within the UK MOD: Applying the Evidence Framework Approach


Tea Break


Jon Williamson, Department of Philosophy, University of Kent

The Principle of Total Evidence in Medicine


Sarah Heilmann, The Social Research Unit

Evidence-based service design, delivery and evaluation of programmes for children and young people (joint work with Conrad Heilmann)

With thanks to Durham's Institute of Advanced Study, The British Academy and the ERC for their support with this event.

Contact for more information about this event.

For Further Information

For further information on all our events, including details on how to register, contact us at CHESS and K4U
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Department of Philosophy
Durham University
50 Old Elvet

Tel: 0191 334 6552
Fax: 0191 334 6551