Miracles and the Limits of Medical Knowledge

In considering whether medical miracles occur, the limits of epistemology bring us to confront our metaphysical worldview of medicine and nature in general. This raises epistemological questions of a higher order. David Hume’s understanding of miracles as violations of the laws of nature assumes that nature is completely regular, whereas doctrines such as C. S. Peirce’s "tychism" hold that there is an element of absolute chance in the workings of the universe. Process philosophy gives yet another view of the working of nature. Physicians have no epistemological grounds for declaring any cure to be miraculous. Miracles are theological (or philosophical) entities, and not medical entities. All physicians can do is to determine whether or not a cure is scientifically inexplicable according to the current epistemological standards of medical science. (edited)
Keywords determinism  epistemology  Hume  laws of nature  metaphysics  miracle  Peirce  Whitehead
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DOI 10.1023/A:1014275232713
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William E. Stempsey (2015). Hope for Health and Health Care. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 18 (1):41-49.

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