The paper attempts to give an account of the fallibility of medical judgments without recourse to the incompleteness of scientific knowledge. It is argued that because of the inexactness of observations and thus the existence of borderline cases any theory applied for explanation and predicition will produce some false results. This state of affairs is independent of the nature of a theory, i.e., it applies both for non-probabilistic and for probabilistic theories. Some epistemological issues and consequences with regard to a better understanding of clinical reasoning are discussed and the view is compared with the theory of medical fallibility of Gorovitz and MacIntyre.1
Keywords clinical judgment  fallibility  inexactness  philosophy of medicine
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1009988720105
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,316
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Toward a Theory of Medical Fallibility.S. Gorovitz & A. MacIntyre - 1976 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 1 (1):51-71.
Toward a Theory of Medical Fallibility.Alasdair MacIntyre - 1976 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 1 (1):13-23.
Error, Malpractice, and the Problem of Universals.Brendan P. Minogue - 1982 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 7 (3):239-250.
Medical Fallibility: A Rejoinder.Samuel Gorovitz - 1978 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 3 (3):187-191.
Vagueness, Inexactness, and Imprecision.R. G. Swinburne - 1969 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 19 (4):281-299.
Futility and the Varieties of Medical Judgment.Daniel P. Sulmasy - 1997 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 18 (1-2):63-78.
On a New Theory of Medical Fallibility: A Rejoinder.M. Martin - 1977 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 2 (1):84-88.
How to Think About Fallibilism.Baron Reed - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 107 (2):143-157.
BEYOND MODES OF OBJECTIVITY.Robert Albin - 2012 - Logos and Episteme (3):361-371.
Man the Rational Animal?Ernest Sosa & David Galloway - 2000 - Synthese 122 (1-2):165-78.
Relevant Evidence.Clark Glymour - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (14):403-426.
Fallibility and Retribution.Göran Duus-Otterström - 2010 - Law and Philosophy 29 (3):337-369.
Inexactness and Explanation.D. H. Mellor - 1966 - Philosophy of Science 33 (4):345-359.


Added to PP index

Total views
20 ( #560,477 of 2,519,316 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #407,861 of 2,519,316 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes