Objectivity, Scientificity, and the Dualist Epistemology of Medicine

In P. Huneman (ed.), Classification, Disease, and Evidence. Dordrecht: Springer Science + Business. pp. 01-17 (2014)
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Abstract

This paper considers the view that medicine is both “science” and “art.” It is argued that on this view certain clinical knowledge – of patients’ histories, values, and preferences, and how to integrate them in decision-making – cannot be scientific knowledge. However, by drawing on recent work in philosophy of science it is argued that progress in gaining such knowledge has been achieved by the accumulation of what should be understood as “scientific” knowledge. I claim there are varying degrees of objectivity pertaining to various aspects of clinical medicine. Hence, what is often understood as constituting the “art” of medicine is amenable to objective methods of inquiry, and so, may be understood as “science”. As a result, I conclude that rather than endorse the popular philosophical distinction between the art and science of medicine, in the future a unified, multifaceted epistemology of medicine should be developed to replace it.

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Thomas V. Cunningham
Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles

Citations of this work

On the Suppression of Medical Evidence.Alexander Christian - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (3):395-418.
The social impact and the intrusive dimension of enhancement.Pierre Cassou-Noguès - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (1):75-89.

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References found in this work

Mortal questions.Thomas Nagel - 1979 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal.Heather Douglas - 2009 - University of Pittsburgh Press.
Health as a theoretical concept.Christopher Boorse - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (4):542-573.

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