Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Agent-Based Models as Etio-Prognostic Explanations [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Olaf Dammann
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

Agent-based models (ABMs) are one type of simulation model used in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In contrast to equation-based models, ABMs are algorithms that use individual agents and attribute changing characteristics to each one, multiple times during multiple iterations over time. This paper focuses on three philosophical aspects of ABMs as models of causal mechanisms, as generators of emergent phenomena, and as providers of explanation. Based on my discussion, I conclude that while ABMs cannot help much with causal inference, they can be viewed as etio-prognostic explanations of…

The Immunity Capital [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Paolo Vineis, Andrea Saltelli
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

This paper is inspired by a thesis on “immune capital” by Kathryn Olivarius. We suggest that the biological capital, which immunity capital is part of, should be considered as an additional component of the life-course experience of individuals, together with the traditional Bourdieu’s social, economic and cultural capitals that drive their lives. Building upon this concept, we consider the relationships between science, society and policy-making in the course of the pandemic. We suggest that we need to ‘reframe problems so that their ethical dimensions are brought to light’ (Jasanoff), with…

Monitoring the Safety of Medicines and Vaccines in Times of Pandemic: Practical, Conceptual, and Ethical Challenges in Pharmacovigilance [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Elena Rocca, Birgitta Grundmark
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

In this paper, we analyse some of the challenges that pharmacovigilance, the science of detecting and assessing possible adverse reactions from medical interventions, is facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, we consider the issue of increased uncertainty of the evidence and the issue of dealing with an unprecedented amount of data. After presenting the technical advances implemented in response to these two challenges, we offer some conceptual reflections around such practical changes. We argue that the COVID-19 emergency represents a chance to push forward critical thinking in the field…

Grassroots Modeling during the Covid-19 Pandemic [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 13 • Author/s: Cecilia Nardini, Fridolin Gross
Topics: Epidemiology, Epistemology, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of science

One of the many peculiar phenomena that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about is the engagement of non-scientists with specific questions surrounding the interpretation of epidemiological data and models. Many of them have even begun to get involved in the collection, analysis, and presentation of the data themselves. A reason for this might be that the insights that science can provide in a situation of crisis are often inconclusive or preliminary, motivating many people to look for the answers to pressing questions themselves. Moreover, public engagement is facilitated by the…