David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Modern medicine has produced many successful theories concerning the causes of diseases. For example, we know that tuberculosis is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and that scurvy is caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. This chapter discusses the nature of medical theories from the perspective of the philosophy, history, and psychology of science. I will review prominent philosophical accounts of what constitutes a scientific theory, and develop a new account of medical theories as representations of mechanisms that explain disease. An account of the nature of medical theories should illuminate many aspects of the development and application of medical knowledge. Most importantly, it should contribute to understanding of medical explanation, both at the general level of causes of diseases and at the individual level of diagnosis of particular cases of a disease. Medical researchers seek to explain the causes of diseases such as tuberculosis, while physicians seek to identify diseases that explain symptoms such as fever. A medical theory such as the bacterial theory of tuberculosis provides good explanations at both the general and individual levels. The primary aim of this chapter is to show how these explanations work. A secondary aim is to show how an account of medical theories can shed light on other aspects of medical research and practice, including the nature of medical discovery, the process of evaluation of competing medical theories, and the ways in which effective treatments of disease depend on the development of good mechanistic theories about diseases
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Lara Kutschenko (2011). In Quest of 'Good' Medical Classification Systems. Medicine Studies 3 (1):53-70.
David Greaves (1998). What Are Heart Attacks? Rethinking Some Aspects of Medical Knowledge. Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy 1 (2):133-141.
Paul Thagard (2011). Patterns of Medical Discovery. In Fred Gifford (ed.), Philosophy of Medicine. Elsevier.
Brendan P. Minogue (1982). Error, Malpractice, and the Problem of Universals. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 7 (3):239-250.
Joachim Widder (1998). The Fallibility of Medical Judgment as a Consequence of the Inexactness of Observations. Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy 1 (2):119-124.
Claudia Wiesemann (1998). The Significance of Prognosis for a Theory of Medical Practice. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 19 (3):253-261.
Lennart Nordenfelt (2000). On the Place of Fuzzy Health in Medical Theory. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 25 (5):639 – 649.
Shaun D. Pattinson (2009). Medical Law and Ethics. Sweet & Maxwell.
Henk A. M. J. Ten Have & Annique Lelie (1998). Medical Ethics Research Between Theory and Practice. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 19 (3).
Norbert Paul (1998). Incurable Suffering From the “Hiatus Theoreticus”? Some Epistemological Problems in Modern Medicine and the Clinical Relevance of Philosophy of Medicine. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 19 (3):229-251.
Edmund D. Pellegrino (1993). The Virtues in Medical Practice. Oxford University Press.
Sara T. Fry (1989). The Role of Caring in a Theory of Nursing Ethics. Hypatia 4 (2):88 - 103.
G. Chemnitz & E. Feingold (1980). A Report on the Development and Prospects of Medical Psychology in the Federal Republic of Germany. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 1 (3):369-374.
Added to index2010-12-22
Total downloads13 ( #136,961 of 1,410,540 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #178,988 of 1,410,540 )
How can I increase my downloads?