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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Professor Nancy Cartwright: Evidence-based policy - So, what's evidence?

13th November 2007, 17:30 to 19:00, St Mary's College

Evidence-based policy is all the rage now throughout the UK and the USA and increasingly in Europe. But if use of evidence is mandated, it will need policing. The need to monitor and advise policy makers on the use of evidence has led to the propagation of a number of schemes for determining what counts as good evidence that a policy will work. The schemes are meant to justify the policymakers in adopting policy, but what justifies the schemes? This talk will press the issue: what counts as evidence for evidence-based policy and -- importantly -- on what grounds do we decide what should count?

Professor Cartwright is a fellow of the British Academy, of the German Academy of Natural Science (Leopoldina), and of the American Philosophical Society (America's oldest honorary academic society) and a recipient of MacArthur Fellowship, as well as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has held visiting appointments at Princeton, Pittsburgh, UCLA and Oslo and is currently an associate member of Nuffield College, Oxford. At the Institute of Advanced Study in Durham she will work with an interdisciplinary group on modelling in science, to which she brings earlier work on how abstract models from the mathematical sciences can teach about the real world.


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