On medicine as a human science

All the powerful influences exertedby the subjective-interpersonal dimension onthe organic or technical-functional dimensionof sickness and health do not make anintersubjective test concerning medicaltherapeutic results impossible. Theseinfluences are not arbitrary; on the contrary,they obey laws that are de facto sufficientlystable to allow predictions and explanationssimilar to those of experimental sciences.While, in this respect, the rules concerninghuman action are analogous to the scientificlaws of nature, they can at any time be revokedby becoming aware of them. Law-like andreproducible regularities in the sciences ofman are by no means separated from a patient'spersonal-hermeneutic mediation. This makes itpossible for human beings to modify, improve orsometimes even entirely (or better almostentirely) suspend these psychological,sociological, ethnological, medical,regularities. For this reason the sciences ofman including medicine are under the obligationof constantly inspecting the continuingvalidity of the rules on which theirpredictions and explanations are based, namelyby indirect, statistical methods. Thisrequires a synergistic collaboration ofextra-clinical and clinical tests through whichmedicine can obtain a good level ofintersubjective testability.
Keywords epistemology  health  human sciences  medicine  philosophy of medicine
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1022942002711
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