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BIAS: Event Log

12/2011-1/2012 | Ph.D. studentship

We launched an international call for applicants through the usual mailing lists. We got expressions of interest from 20 people from four different countries. Not bad for a start


Monthly reading group on F. Gifford, ed., Handbook of Philosophy of Medicine, with D. Teira, María González Moreno (CEU), Juan Carlos Hernández Clemente (UAM) and Cristian Saborido (UNED)


Sergio Sismondo (Queens University), one of the leading international sociologist of the pharmaceutical industry, spent three delightful days in Madrid and gave a talk at UNED on the 20th: "Pushing knowledge in the Drug Industry". Sergio presented his current research on Key Opinion Leaders and ghost authoring as pharmaceutical marketing tools. He kindly shared many of his ideas in a private tutoring session with M. de Miguel, a new graduate student at the Department and a pharmaceutical marketer herself.

A new member joins the project: Maria Gonzalez, a biology professor and training philosopher (seeking now a PhD on the pharmaceutical disease-mongering and the definition of disease, under the supervision of David Teira)


6/3 David Teira: Podcast in Respuestas de la ciencia (Radio 5): ¿Qué son los ensayos clínicos?

8-10/3 Contributed paper at IMEBE 2012 (Castellón): María Jiménez Buedo, “The last dictator? Experimenter effects in experimental economic”

13-16/3 A leading experimentalist in political science, Donald P. Green, came to Madrid to give a course on “Field Experiments: Design, Analysis, and Interpretation” at the Fundación March. We (Maria Jiménez-Buedo and David Teira) took this course and also took out Donald for dinner, enjoying the opportunity to discuss our ideas at length. We hope to be able to transform some of these ideas into a paper!

27/3 Invited talk in Lyon: David Teira, "Les essais cliniques et les limites de la causalité : perspectives fréquentistes et bayésiennes" Thanks to E. Giroux et M. Lemoine for organizing it and the lively discussion.


13/4 A seminar with Thomas Sturm (UAB), "Theories of Rationality in Psychology and Policy Analysis, or: When War is Good and Peace Is Treacherous". Do biases provide a plausible account of the advice provided by many policy-making experts during the Cold War? Not always, according to Sturm.


25/5 Invited lecture of Maria Jimenez Buedo, “Attributing expertise in uncertain times”. Experts and Consensus in Economics and the Social Sciences, University of Bayreuth. Thanks to Carlo Martini for the invitation!

5/2012 David Teira, "¿Cómo se publica una investigación?" Another radio clip for RNE5


13/4 A seminar with Neven Sesardic (Lingnan U.) "Racism: a conceptual exploration". To what extent our cognitive biases regarding race admit a rational justification? Sesardic provides a Bayesian defence.


18-20/7 María Jiménez Buedo, “Experiments in the Social Sciences: Rethinking the Hawthorne Effect” (Contributed paper) + David Teira, “A contractarian solution to the experimenter’s regress” (Symposium paper), Spanish Society for Logic and Philosophy of Science Meeting. Santiago de Compostela (Spain).


21-23/9: David Teira & María Jiménez Buedo, “Blinding and the non-interference assumption in field experiments” (Contributed paper), European Network for the Philosophy of the Social Sciences Conference, Copenhagen

Monthly reading group on concepts of disease, with D. Teira, María González Moreno (CEU), Juan Carlos Hernández Clemente (UAM) and Cristian Saborido (UNED)

David Teira and Cristian Saborido are launching a graduate course on Philosophy and Medicine at UNED


4-6/10: David Teira, “Patents, pharmaceutical monopolies and the impartiality of clinical trials” (Contributed paper), Is This the End? The Eclipse of the Therapeutic Revolution, Zurich


9-10/11: María González Moreno made her first contribution to this project in an invited talk (jointly with C. Saborido & J. C. Hernández), “Biological Normativity beyond Clinical Normalcy” at the Conference on health and disease concepts. Université de Lyon III, France.

David Teira, María Jiménez Buedo & J. Zamora, “A contractarian solution to the experimenter’s regress” (Contributed paper), PSA 2012 Meeting, San Diego

David Teira, “The impartiality of clinical trials historically reexamined” (Contributed paper); HSS Conference, San Diego


14/12 Joint event with Fernando Aguiar (CSIC) & José Antonio Noguera (UAB): “Experimentación conductual y simulación basada en agentes: potencial y limitaciones en las ciencias sociales”. Do we really have incentives to elicit the moral preferences of our subjects in philosophical experiments? Or are their choices an experimental artifact? Fernando Aguiar advises caution!

18/12 Joint presentation of the research project at the Escuela Nacional de Sanidad (Instituto Carlos III). Is our research of any interest for medical practitioners? At least we tried!

Alex Diaz, a psychologist with an MPhil in Philosophy of science and actual experience in laboratory research will be the recipient of the research fellowship associated to the project. More on his forthcoming webpage soon.



5/1 Invited lecture: María Jiménez Buedo, “Attributing Expertise in Uncertain Times.” American Economic Association Annual Meeting 2013. INEM-ASSA Panel. Expertise and Consensus in Economics. San Diego, CA.

14-17/1 David Teira taught a course ("Filosofía de las ciencias sociales: métodos interdisciplinares") covering many of the project topics at the graduate school of the Universidad Austral de Chile (Valdivia).

23/1 David Teira, "Experimentos de campo en economía: ¿Podemos probar políticas como si fueran medicamentos?" (Invited Talk) Instituto de Humanides, Universidad Diego Portales (Santiago de Chile)


6/2 David Teira was invited as external examiner to Cecilia Nardini's viva "Statistics in Clinical Trials: Out of Condition", advised by G. Boniolo and J. Sprenger. The thesis was part of a joint program at the University of Milan-European School of Molecular Medicine (SEMM)-European Institute of Oncology (IEO)

19/2 A seminar at UNED with Kristen Intemann (Montana State University), "Science for Profit: Understanding and Addressing Commercial Bias in the Biomedical Sciences". Her claim: conflicts of interest policies have not worked because they assume the wrong concept of bias. A nice discussion followed


1/3 A seminar at UNED with Jan-Willem Romeijn (University of Groningen), "Science and belief: A plea for epistemic statistics". Why statistical methods (be they Bayesian or frequentist) should hinge on our beliefs, not on rules of action. Jan-Willem was kind enough to arrange a tutorial with Alex Diaz, our PhD student, on how to bring together statistics and psychology in bias research.

20/3 A joint event with David Teira and Kristen Intemann at the Universidad de Oviedo: Two conceptions of impartiality in debate. Thanks to Armando Menéndez and Francisco Javier Gil for the invitation!


17/4 A seminar at UNED with Manuel Bagüés (UC3M), "The Role of Connections in Academic Promotions": a natural field experiment drawing on data from the Spanish Ministry of Education


6/5 A seminar at UNED with Raffaella Campaner (Università di Bologna), "Psychiatric Explanation and Explanatory Pluralism", followed by a nice debate: can we endorse explanatory pluralism in psychiatry without biasing our diagnostic categories?

8/5, Chema Antequera (ISCIII) + David Teira, "La medicina basada en la evidencia", a joint seminar at the Escuela Nacional de Sanidad, Instituto Carlos III

27-29/5, Alex Díaz "What is unbiased cognition expected to be?" (Poster presentation), Workshop "What is cognition?" Ruhr-University, Bochum.


1-31/6: David Teira will be teaching the graduate course "The science and ethics of pharmaceutical markets:Randomized clinical trials and disease-mongering" at European School of Molecular Medicine (Milan)

15/6, Maria Jimenez Buedo, "The last dictator", contributed paper, INEM conference (Rotterdam)

15/6 David Teira, "Managing ignorance for regulatory purposes in pharmaceutical markets", Invited talk at the Workshop "Agnatology: genesis of ignorance" (Paris). Thanks to Daniel Andler for the invitation!

27/6 David Teira, "Experimentos de campo en economía: ¿podemos probar políticas como si fueran medicamentos?", Seminar talk  at the Universitat de les Illes Balears. Thanks to Juanba Bengoetxea for the invitation!


1-3/7: María Jiménez-Buedo, "Internal and External Validity: Implicit Assumptions about Causal Inference from  Experiments", Causality in the Sciences Conference (CaEitS), Paris

7-13/7 Cristian Saborido, María González Moreno y Juan Carlos Hernández Clemente: “Biological normativity, clinical normalcy and the theoretical definitions of health and disease (Contributed paper) International Society for de History, Philosophy and the Social Study of Biology 2013 Meeting (Montpellier) 


28-31/8 María Jiménez-Buedo ""Internal and External Validity: Implicit Assumptions about Causal Inference from  Experiments" (Contributed paper) + David Teira, "Controlling the participants’ preferences in selective field trials" (Symposium, both at the EPSA conference, Helsinki)


17/9 Workshop on Public Health Ethics at the Escuela Nacional de Sanidad, with talks by M. A. Royo (ENS), P. Schröder (Maastricht University) and D. Teira (UNED), "The size of the population: why the pharmaceutical regulator should care?"

21-29/9: Jason Dana visited us at UNED to work on a joint paper with María Jiménez Buedo and Alex Díaz, and gave a wonderful talk on the 23rd: "When are experimental findings better than a guess?" (or how to set a statistical benchmark for the significance of your results)


7-31/10 David Teira is visiting again the European School of Molecular Medicine, where he runs a reading group and gets started a field report on conflicts of interest at their early clinical trials unit

23/10 Invited talk at San Raffaelle University (Milan): D. Teira, "Debiasing Procedures in Scientific Experiments" (click on the link for the video). Thanks to Andrea Sereni, Matteo Motterlini and Francesco Guala for the invitation

30/10 Invited talk at the University of Bologna: D. Teira, "Managing ignorance for regulatory purposes in pharmaceutical markets". Thanks to Maria Carla Galavotti and Raffaella Campaner for the invitation


20-21/11 Cristian Saborido, María González Moreno y Juan Carlos Hernández Clemente, “Natural Normativity and  the Theoretical Definition of Health And disease” (Contributed paper). International Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable, Columbia University Medical Center (N. York)

26/11 Bert Leuridan (Ghent University), "From Carnap to Cochrane: Amalgamating Evidence for Causal Claims and the Principle of Total Evidence": the principle of total evidence cannot be invoked without qualifications in order to justify a broader view of meta-analyses. Leuridan suggests four principles that should guide us in using it.

Forthcoming events

17/12 Marco Nathan (University of Denver), "A Non-Causal Account of Causal Explanation"