Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

© 2020, Springer Nature B.V. This paper offers a critical analysis of several accounts of the placebo effect that have been put forward. While the placebo effect is most often thought of as a control in research and as a deceptive tool in practice, a growing body of research suggests that it ought to be thought of as a powerful phenomenon in its own right. Several accounts that aim to draw boundaries around the placebo effect are evaluated in relation to current evidence and it is argued that none of them adequately capture the variability and potency of the phenomenon. Two accounts, however, that point towards the underlying mechanisms of the placebo effect, are shown to offer promise in terms of developing a more comprehensive account of the placebo effect.

Original publication




Journal article


Biology and Philosophy

Publication Date