About this topic

The philosophy of medicine is a subset of the philosophy of science that examines medical science and practice. Such reflection invites consideration of the nature of medicine—is it a rule-governed science or does the contingency of medical practice make it more of an art? Most would agree that medical science lacks the explanatory power of the physical sciences, but its grounding in robust bodies of life and health science research suggests something more systematic than praxis. As an alternative, medical science and medical practice can be regarded as distinct, as the goal of practice is to improve health while scientific study aims to achieve theoretical understanding. The insurgence of evidence-based methods to medical research over the past two decades, however, has challenged the framing of the goals of medical science. With its focus on outcomes research, clinical research has been largely redirected towards practical end of improving human health.  Philosophy of medicine is typically distinguished from biomedical ethics, although the distinction frequently blurs since it is often normative issues that motivate investigation into more theoretical questions. Fundamental questions addressed by philosophers of medicine tend to be epistemological and ontological by nature--analysis of meta-scientific concepts like reduction, models, theories, mechanisms, and causal inference and inquiry into the nature of health and disease. This humane orientation permitted a fruitful subset of late 20th century philosophy of medicine to diverge from the analytic orientation of Anglo-American philosophy of science to explore phenomenological investigation into the embodied experience of illness and dis-ease. The weighty human and social impact of medical science and practice also encouraged consideration of ethical and policy considerations in close tandem with the epistemic, ontological, and methodological debates that characterize the philosophy of medicine.

Key works

On the concepts of health and disease see Boorse 1977 's claim that they are descriptive concepts. This view is countered by Canguilhem 1991 normative account. On randomization in clinical trials,  see Papineau 1994 on the virtues of randomization versus Worrall 2007 and Vandenbrouke 2004. Evidence-based medicine, which champions randomized controlled trials as the gold standard, has been challenged by Feinstein & Horwitz 1997, Tonelli 1998, and Goldenberg 2006. On causal inference, see the classical debate between Hill 1965 and Fisher 1958, as well as McKay et al 2011. On Bayesian versus frequentist statistics in medicine, see Ashby 2006, Berry 1993, Whitehead 1993 On phenomenological investigations into the experience of illness and suffering, see Cassell 2004, Toombs 2001. On discovery and explanation, see Schaffner 1993 and Thagard 1999. On clinical judgment, see Feinstein 1967, Montgomery 2006.See Engel 1977 ’s influential biopsychosocial model of medicine.


Marcum 2010 Gifford 2011

Related categories

5273 found
1 — 50 / 5273
Material to categorize
  1. Legal Issues Related to Complementary and Alternative Medicine. &Na - 2009 - Jona's Healthcare, Law, Ethics, and Regulation 11 (2):52-53.
  2. Wa(I)Ves of Influence: Rockefeller Public Health in Mexico, 1920-50.Birn A.-E. - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 31 (3):381-395.
  3. The Problem of Terminology in the Study of Student Conceptions in Science.I. O. Abimbola - 1988 - Science Education 72 (2):175-184.
  4. To Wrestle with Demons: A Psychiatrist Struggles to Understand His Patients and Himself.Keith R. Ablow - 1994 - Carroll & Graf Publishers.
  5. Response to Collins.Mark Addis - 2013 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (2):427-429.
  6. Institutional Obstacles to Clinical Research.E. H. Ahrens Jr - 1993 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 36 (2):194.
  7. “It Feels Good to Be Measured”: Clinical Role-Play, Walker Percy, and the Tingles.Nitin K. Ahuja - 2013 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 56 (3):442-451.
  8. Resolution of the Polarisation of Ideologies and Approaches in Psychiatry.Shakuntala Singh Ajai Singh - 2004 - Mens Sana Monographs 2 (2):5.
    The uniqueness of Psychiatry as a medical speciality lies in the fact that aside from tackling what it considers as illnesses, it has perchance to comment on and tackle many issues of social relevance as well. Whether this is advisable or not is another matter; but such a process is inevitable due to the inherent nature of the branch and the problems it deals with. Moreover this is at the root of the polarization of psychiatry into opposing psychosocial and biological (...)
  9. The Logic of Medicine By Edmond A. Murphy.Daniel Albert - 1998 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 42 (1):144-145.
  10. Health Services Research and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Reciprocal Relationship.Daniel A. Albert - 1997 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 41 (3):327-340.
  11. The Unique Ontology of Capital.Robert Albritton - 1998 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 60:55-98.
  12. Psychosomatic Medicine.Franz Alexander - 1953 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 4 (15):260-262.
  13. Reminiscences From My Medical, School and Residency Days.Gellhorn Alfred - 2004 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 47 (1).
  14. An Appearance of Genocide: A Review of Governmental Family-Planning Program Policies. [REVIEW]James E. Allen - 1977 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 20 (2):300-306.
  15. Good Clinical Practice in Europe Investigator's Handbook.Michael E. Allen - 1991
  16. Public Hospitals--Past, Present, and Future.Fred Allison Jr - 1992 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 36 (4):596-610.
  17. Invalidity of Using So-Called Starling Curves in Clinical Medicine.Mark D. Altschule - 1983 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 26 (2):171-187.
  18. Writing in Subjugated Knowledges: Towards a Transformative Agenda in Nursing Research and Practice.Joan M. Anderson - 2000 - Nursing Inquiry 7 (3):145-145.
  19. The Science of Life as Seen Through Rose-Coloured Glasses.Mike Anderson - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (5):886-887.
    This commentary takes issue with two of Rose's central themes from the perspective of the psychology of intelligence. In the case of reductionism, I argue that Rose fails to live up to his own rhetoric by claiming a veto from his own discipline (biology) over facts of the matter in another (psychology). In the case of “Lifelines,” Rose's argument is contradicted by evidence from both individual differences and developmental change in intelligence.
  20. Viruses in Health and Disease.C. H. Andrewes - 1958 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 1 (2):211-223.
  21. Research in the Ranks: Vulnerable Subjects, Coercible Collaboration, and the Hepatitis E Vaccine Trial in Nepal.Jason Andrews - 2006 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 49 (1):35-51.
  22. Grand Master of Bedlam: Roy Porter and the History of Psychiatry.Jonathan Andrews - 2003 - History of Science 41 (3):269-286.
  23. Evidence Based or Person Centered? An Ontological Debate.Rani Lill Anjum - 2016 - European Journal for Person Centered Healthcare 4 (2):421-429.
    Evidence based medicine (EBM) is under critical debate, and person centered healthcare (PCH) has been proposed as an improvement. But is PCH offered as a supplement or as a replacement of EBM? Prima facie PCH only concerns the practice of medicine, while the contended features of EBM also include methods and medical model. I here argue that there are good philosophical reasons to see PCH as a radical alternative to the existing medical paradigm of EBM, since the two seem committed (...)
  24. Evidence Based on What?Rani Lill Anjum, Roger Kerry & Stephen D. Mumford - 2015 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 21 (6):E11-E12.
  25. Animals, Disease, and Man: Making Connections.Dr Hardy Anne - 2003 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 46 (2):200-215.
  26. Geriatrics, Chronic Diseases.Main Area & Alicia Ponte-Sucre - 2001 - Substance 270:G57.
  27. Improving the Quality of Drug Error Reporting.Gerry Armitage, Robert Newell & John Wright - 2010 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 16 (6):1189-1197.
  28. What Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Means to Me.L. Eugene Arnold - 2008 - Mens Sana Monographs 6 (1):131.
  29. The Dying President: Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1944-1945 (Review).Morton F. Arnsdorf - 2000 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 43 (3):451-453.
  30. Will Rogers Says and Will Rogers Courtship and Correspondence.Morton F. Arnsdorf - 1998 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 41 (3):452.
  31. Making Sense of Illness Science, Society, and Disease.Robert A. Aronowitz - 1998
  32. Building Ontologies with Basic Formal Ontology.Robert Arp, Barry Smith & Andrew D. Spear - 2015 - Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    In the era of “big data,” science is increasingly information driven, and the potential for computers to store, manage, and integrate massive amounts of data has given rise to such new disciplinary fields as biomedical informatics. Applied ontology offers a strategy for the organization of scientific information in computer-tractable form, drawing on concepts not only from computer and information science but also from linguistics, logic, and philosophy. This book provides an introduction to the field of applied ontology that is of (...)
  33. Misleading One Detail: A Preventable Mode of Diagnostic Error?Shahar Arzy, Mayer Brezis, Salim Khoury, Steven R. Simon & Tamir Ben‐Hur - 2009 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 15 (5):804-806.
  34. What is Clinical Effectiveness?Richard Ashcroft - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 33 (2):219-233.
  35. The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine By Eric Cassell.Alan B. Astrow - 1993 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 37 (1):150-152.
  36. The French Revolution and the Dilemma of Medical Training.Alan B. Astrow - 1989 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 33 (3):444-456.
  37. Differences and Similarities in the Regulation of Medical Practice Between Early Modern Vienna and Osijek.Bruno Atalic - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (3):691-699.
    This paper evaluates the regulation of medical practice from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries in two Habsburg cities, Vienna and Osijek, in the light of the spread of medical knowledge and practice from the centre to the periphery of the Habsburg Monarchy. Although both cities were part of the Habsburg Monarchy for much of the early modern period, there were more differences than similarities between them. This may be explained by appealing to a variety of factors, including geographical position, (...)
  38. Heredity Counseling Edited by Helen G. Hammons.Kimball C. Atwood - 1960 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 3 (3):440-440.
  39. Medicine and Place: An Inquiry.Julie M. Aultman & Delese Wear - 2006 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 49 (1):84-98.
  40. The Journal's Referees, August 2005-August 2007.[No Author Name Available] - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
  41. Psychiatry and Catholocism.Frank J. Ayd Jr - 1953 - New Scholasticism 27 (4):466-468.
  42. Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)\-\-One or Several Diseases? Changes in the Prevalence and Features of CHD.Maria Inês Azambuja & Richard Levins - 2007 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 50 (2):228-242.
  43. The Dead Can Still Teach the Living: The Status of Cadaver-Based Anatomy in the Age of Electronic Media.M. Ashraf Aziz & James C. Mckenzje - 1999 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 42 (3):402-421.
  44. The Stem-Cell Century: A New Epoch and Fresh Challenge.Jennifer B. & Christopher Thomas - 2009 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 52 (1):126-133.
  45. Towards S T at E-Controlled Medicine.Dr A. G. Badenoch - 1947 - New Blackfriars 28 (325):170-175.
  46. Medical Semiotics.Eugen Baer - 1988
  47. Mumbai Psychiatry: Current Obstacles.SanjayV Bagadia - 2015 - Mens Sana Monographs 13 (1):171.
  48. Developing an Instrument for Evaluating Implementation of Clinical Practice Guidelines: A Test‐Retest Study.Christel Bahtsevani, Ania Willman, Azzam Khalaf & Margareta Östman - 2008 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 14 (5):839-846.
  49. When Illness Goes Public: Celebrity Patients and How We Look at Medicine (Review).John C. Bailar Iii - 2008 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 51 (2):295-299.
  50. Survival After Breast Cancer Treatment: The Impact of Provider Volume.Karen Bailie, Iain Dobie, Stephen Kirk & Michael Donnelly - 2007 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 13 (5):749-757.
1 — 50 / 5273