Modelling Scientific Ecosystems: Medicine and Pharmacology

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Ancona, Polytechnic University of The Marche

14 january 2019


9.00 – 9.40: Stefano Bonzio, Francesco De Pretis, Barbara Osimani, Armando Sacco: an update on the PhilPharm ERC Project: “Probability and Causal Assessment in a Strategic Environments” + 10 minutes of discussion;

9.50 – 10.20: Federico Boem “Scientific Reliability and Public Trust: The Case Cochrane Controversy” + 10 minutes of discussion;

10.30 – 11.00 Mantas Radzvillas, Todd Stambaugh ”Information Asymmetry in Drug Testing” + 10 minutes of discussion;

11.10 – 11.30: Coffee Break

11.30 – 12.00: Jan Niederreiter “Clinical trial success prediction: technological foresight via supervised learning” + 10 minutes of discussion;

12.10 – 12.40: Gustavo Cevolani “Clinical reasoning: from fallacies to formal models, and back again” + 10 minutes of discussion;

12.50 – 13.45: Lunch Break

13.45 – 14.15: Massimo Riccaboni “Building on Successes and Failures: Evidence from Pharmaceutical R&D Projects” + 10 minutes of discussion;

14.25 – 15.45 General Discussion


The PhilPharm project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme – grant agreement n. 639276


The evidence in Statistics, Biomedic and Legal Sciences

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Date: June 8, 2018

Venue: Faculty of Medicine – Room Q

Philosophers of Sciences repeatedly highlighted the relational nature of evidence: evidence is always evidence for a certain hypothesis, in a certain theoretic framework and for a certain purpose. The pragmatic (and strategic) aspect become more important when the decisions that a set of evidences has to support are not purely epistemic (accept or refuse a hypothesis or validate or not a theory), but they have practical consequences, especially in law and trials.

The workshop has the aim to examine the different dimensions of evidence and their interaction. Philosophers, legal experts and scientists will discuss about the relationship between procedural rules and juridical standards, inferential models from sciences and statistics, and forms of justification of theoretical and factual knowledge.

The workshop will be held in the Faculty on Medicine of the Politechnical University of Marche. The venue is located in Ancona Torrette, via Tronto 10/A and will start at 9 A.M.

Evidenza nelle scienze biomediche e forensi_def


Philosophy, Science and Policy Seminar Series

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Date: 14th May 2018

The first seminar of the series “Philosophy, Science and Policy” will held on May 14, 2018 in the Aula F of the Faculty of Medicine, at 12 a.m.

Speaker: Giovanni Boniolo, University of Ferrara

Abstract: Right To Try (RTT) laws originated in the USA to allow terminally ill patients to request access to early stage experimental medical products directly from the producer, removing the oversight and approval of the Food and Drug Administration. These laws have received signicant media attention and almost equally unanimous criticism by the bioethics, clinical and scientic communities. They touch indeed on complex issues such as the conflict between individual and public interest, and the public understanding of medical research and its regulation. The increased awareness around RTT laws means that healthcare providers directly involved in the management of patients with life-threatening conditions such as cancer, infective, or neurologic conditions will deal more frequently with patients requests of access to experimental medical products. This talk aims to assess the ethical plausibility of the RTT laws, and to suggest some possible ethical tools and considerations to address the main issues they touch.

Venue: Faculty of Medicine, Aula F, 12 a.m.


Bayes By the Sea: Formal Epistemology, Statistics and Probability

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Dates: 13-14th September 2018.

The workshop focuses on different kinds and levels of formalisms used to model and explain uncertainty in scientific inference and various kinds of biases and fallacies in scientific and non-scientific reasoning. The workshop also aims to explore foundational issues in epistemology, statistics, probability theory and logic in order to investigate their common normative underpinnings.

Venue: Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona. Facoltà di Economia “Giorgio Fuà”, Aula T37.



List of participants: 

Gustavo Cevolani (IMT Scuola di Alti Studi di Lucca)

Vincenzo Crupi (Università di Torino)

Serena Doria (Università di Chieti-Pescara)

Roberto Festa (Università di Trieste)

Tommaso Flaminio (Artificial Intelligence Research Institute, IIIA – CSIC, Barcelona)

Paolo Galeazzi (Center for Information and Bubble Studies, Copenaghen)

Rosaria Gesuita (Università Politecnica delle Marche)

Hykel Hosni (Università Statale di Milano)

Carlo Martini (Università San Raffaele, Milano)

Jan Sprenger (Università di Torino)

Katya Tentori (Università di Trento)

Organisation: Stefano Bonzio, Juergen Landes and Barbara Osimani.




Sponsors: Società Italiana di Logica e Filosofia delle Scienze









Workshop: Drug Safety, Probabilistic Causal Assessment, and Evidence Synthesis (27-28 Jan, 2017, LMU, Munich)

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Bennett Holman
Jürgen Landes
Barbara Osimani
Roland Poellinger
David Teira


The latest regulatory amendments concerning pharmacovigilance practice made by the European Parliament and the European Council (Directive 2010/84/EU; Regulation (EU) No 1235/2010) put a special emphasis on joint efforts to develop an integrative information-based approach to pharmaceutical risk assessment. The related guidelines encourage the amalgamation of information from different sources (e.g. spontaneous case reports, literature, data-mining, pharmacoepidemiological studies, post-marketing trials, drug utilization studies, non-clinical studies, late-breaking information). Yet, the methodological bases for implementing such a policy are shaky in that causal assessment of adverse drug reactions still relies mainly on the (statistical) methods developed to test drug efficacy.

Philosophers have developed a variety of tools to address methodological and epistemological issues that arise in causal assessment in medicine. This research program interacts with the work of health professionals, methodologists, statisticians and epidemiologists. Moreover, social epistemology and decision-theoretic tools are increasingly acknowledged as useful instruments to model research dynamics, knowledge flux and evaluate funding policies. Since medical research and clinical practice are pervaded by all sorts of conflicts of interest, there is room for implementing these approaches to understand the way medical knowledge works in our social world.

This workshop aims to provide a platform allowing scholars and decision makers to focus on causal assessment for the purposes of drug safety. In particular, the following topics, among others, will be explored and investigated: limits and potential of standard methods for evidence synthesis (meta-analysis, systematic review), mixed methods, machine learning and spontaneous reporting, safety pharmacology, systems pharmacology, evidence based medicine versus pluralistic approaches to evidence evaluation, and social epistemology in pharmacology. In addition, the workshop is intended to foster novel approaches to risk management and decision making.

Date and Location

It will took place on Friday the 27th of January 2017 and Saturday the 28th of January 2017 at LMU in Munich.

Speakers, Schedule, and Further Information

Please visit the workshop’s website at for details about speakers, schedule, venue, accommodation, and travel issues:


Rani Lill Anjum and Elena Rocca

Jon Williamson slides

Felipe Romero and Jan Sprenger

Barbara Osimani slides

Jeff Aronson slides

Ralph Edwards

Mike Kelly slides

Ulrich Mannsmann

Brigitte Keller-Stanislawski slides

Beth Shaw

Stephen Senn slides

Norbert Benda

Stephen Mumford

Adam La Caze slides

Jacob Stegenga

Roland Poellinger slides

Jürgen Landes slides

Martin Posch and Franz König slides

David Teira slides

Bennett Holman






Workshop on the “History of Statistics” (22/23 March, 2016)

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LMU’s department of statistics and the MCMP are jointly organizing a two-day workshop on the history of statistics. The workshop will take place on 22 and 23 March, 2016, and we are happy to announce that Glenn Shafer has agreed to open the workshop with his talk “The invention of random variables: concept and name”.

More info can be found on the homepage of the statistics department here:

Seminar on the “Philosophy of Game-Theoretic Probability” (with Glenn Shafer)

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In March, 2016, Barbara Osimani, Jürgen Landes, and Roland Poellinger will give a seminar on the “Philosophy of Game-Theoretic Probability” (co-organized with Prof. Dr. Thomas Augustin from LMU’s department of statistics). Students of LMU Munich can sign up for this course through LMU’s LSF system online and earn ECTS credit points for participation plus essay.

The event is open to all: Anyone interested in attending Glenn Shafer’s lectures only (all or some) is invited to join us at any time.

Short Description

The game-theoretic foundation for probability, launched with a 2001 book by Vladimir Vovk and Glenn Shafer, broadens the established measure-theoretic foundation for probability. This seminar and ten guest lectures by Glenn Shafer himself will provide an elementary introduction to the game-theoretic foundation, with an emphasis on its philosophical implications and its applications to the assessment of evidence.


Tuesday, 8 March, 2016 11:30-13:00 Introduction to topics from Glenn Shafer’s work: Probability, decision/game theory, evidence, causality.
Tuesday, 15 March 11:30-13:00 Guest Lecture 1: The game-theoretic definition of probability
13:00-14:00 Lunch Break
 14:00-15:30 Guest Lecture 2: Frequentism
 15:30-15:45 Coffee Break
 15:45-16:30 Discussion and Tutorial
Wednesday, 16 March 11:30-13:00 Guest Lecture 3: Dynamic martingale testing
13:00-14:00 Lunch Break
14:00-15:30 Guest Lecture 4: How to forecast
15:30-15:45 Coffee Break
15:45-16:30 Discussion and Tutorial
Thursday, 17 March 11:30-13:00 Guest Lecture 5: Subjective probability
13:00-14:00 Lunch Break
14:00-15:30 Guest Lecture 6: Dempster’s rule of combination
15:30-15:45 Coffee Break
15:45-16:30 Discussion and Tutorial
Friday, 18 March 11:30-13:00 Guest Lecture 7: Constructive decision theory
13:00-14:00 Lunch Break
14:00-15:30 Guest Lecture 8: Causality as regularity
15:30-15:45 Coffee Break
15:45-16:30 Discussion and Tutorial
Monday, 21 March 11:30-13:00 Guest Lecture 9: Game-theoretic finance I
13:00-14:00 Lunch Break
14:00-15:30 Guest Lecture 10: Game-theoretic finance II
15:30-15:45 Coffee Break
15:45-16:30 Discussion and Tutorial
 TBA  (90 min.) Review of select problems in the philosophy of probability and final discussion
 TBA  (90 min.) Essay meeting


The seminar (in English) will take place at the statistics department, seminar room 144, Ludwigstr. 33 (1st floor).


More Info

Download the guest lecture syllabus (PDF) here, and find more info on Glenn Shafer’s person and work here.