The Words Matter Podcast with Oliver Thomson

Episode 16 of The Words Matter Podcast, Dr Oliver Thomson talks with philosopher Dr Rani Lill Anjum about the philosophical bias, causation and complexity.

Show Notes

Welcome to episode 16 of The Words Matter Podcast.

On this episode I speak with philosopher Dr Rani Lill Anjum.

Rani is Research Fellow in Philosophy at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Many of you will be aware of the research project she leads called Causation, Complexity and Evidence in Health Sciences, AKA CauseHealth. She is one of the leaders of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences Centre for Applied Philosophy of Science.

In this episode:
  • Rani takes us through the CauseHealth project and one of its major outputs 'the Book' named ‘Rethinking causality, complexity and evidence for the unique patient (see here). This is excellent resource, with contributions from philosophers and clinicians to help tackle  with the philosophical biases that tacitly motivate evidence-based and person-centered clinical practice.
  • She helps us dip our toe into the concept of causation and the different ways it can be conceptualised, and the importance of these conceptions with how we recognise evidence in relation to our clinical practice.
  • We talk about what is a paradigm and the dominance of the scientific paradigm which underpins many of the assumptions of evidence-based practice.
  • We touch on the reliance of RCTs in generating causal evidence and the potential contribution of other methods, including qualitative research to contribute to a better understanding of casual relationships.
So it all gets pretty philosophical, and this episode might require more than one listen. This sort of philosophy is hard. I know when editing the episode, and re-listening, the excellent information and philosophical concepts sunk deeper into my brain and became more obvious- so please stick with it- it’s well worth it.

I cannot recommend the CauseHealth book highly enough- it’s a fantastic resource and can be downloaded for free from Springer.

Rani also has an excellent video on Youtube presenting these ideas in more detail-  the video is here and is well worth watching to get a grip of this important area.

Find Rani on Twitter @ranilillanjum and @Cause_Health

See here for more about Rani

If you liked the podcast, you'll love the Words Matter online course on effective language and communication when managing back pain - ideal for all MSK therapists and students.

Help the podcast grow and don't miss an episode- Subscribe, Rate and Share.

Instagram @Wordsmatter_education and @Thewordsmatterpodcast
Twitter @WordsClinical
Facebook Words Matter - Improving Clinical Communication 

★ Support this podcast on Patreon ★

What is The Words Matter Podcast with Oliver Thomson?

The Words Matter Podcast brings you insights, reflections and conversations focused on the latest evidence, theory, philosophy and practice of communication-focused healthcare.

Find out about the more tacit, 'softer' and personal side of clinical practice such as the role of philosophy, beliefs, behaviours, developing therapeutic relationships or the purposeful use of language with people experiencing pain from expert academics, clinicians and researchers from across the world and spanning the musculoskeletal disciplines. This podcast will help you reflect on your own current practice and inform and stimulate you to consider new ways of approaching your practice and patients, to create a better clinical experience and outcomes in people with musculoskeletal pain.

Hosted by Dr Oliver Thomson PhD, an osteopath and Associate Professor who is passionate about researching and educating clinicians on a revised narrative, communication and biopsychosocial approach to musculoskeletal therapy. If you like the podcast, subscribe and check out the online learning and resources at

Support the show and become a patron