Browse/search for people

Publication - Dr Andrew Turner

    ‘Placebos’ and the logic of placebo comparison


    Turner, A, 2012, ‘‘Placebos’ and the logic of placebo comparison’. Biology & Philosophy, vol 27., pp. 419-432


    Robin Nunn has argued that we should stop using the terms ‘placebo’ and ‘placebo effect’. I argue in support of Nunn’s position by considering the logic of why we perform placebo comparisons. Like all comparisons, placebo comparison is just a case of comparing one thing with another, but it is a mistake, I argue, to think of placebo comparison as a case where something is compared to ‘a placebo’. Rather, placebo comparison should be understood as a situation which sets-up the treatment and control groups in a particular way; not as a case involving objects or procedures called ‘placebos’ employed in order to control for ‘placebo effects’.

    Full details in the University publications repository