Contemporary ‘knowledge’ relies increasingly on probabilistic data. A key example is the ‘evidence’ for the effectiveness of health and social welfare interventions. Such claims to ‘knowing’ require an epistemological underpinning. This paper explores the concept of probabilistic knowledge, evidence and ‘proof’ which underpin claims for the effectiveness of social care interventions from the perspective of scholastic epistemology. It provides a framework based on contingent events, establishing different levels of certitude and ways of increasing it, thanks to intellectual virtues such as prudence and art. Knowing the value of the data that form the basis for making decisions in social processes, we can construct directions for social policies. Greater methodological precision (that philosophy in its various traditions might offer) may be of service to attempts in social work to conceptualise questions of effectiveness and measurement of outcomes, given their probabilistic nature.
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work|
|Early online date||15 Oct 2022|
|Publication status||Published online - 15 Oct 2022|
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© 2022 Taylor & Francis.
- health care
- Scholastic philosophy
- social welfare
- social work