Pre-trial beliefs in complementary and alternative medicine: whose pre-trial belief should be considered?

Subjective probabilities play a significant role in the assessment of evidence: in other words, our background knowledge, or pre-trial beliefs, cannot be set aside when new evidence is being evaluated. Focusing on homeopathy, this paper investigates the nature of pre-trial beliefs in clinical trials. It asks whether pre-trial beliefs of the sort normally held only by those who are sympathetic to homeopathy can legitimately be disregarded in those trials. The paper addresses several surprisingly unsuccessful attempts to provide a satisfactory justification for ignoring the pre-trial beliefs of the homeopathic community. The ensuing diagnosis of the difficulties here emphasizes that the reason the arguments for choosing the pre-trial beliefs of the conventional community seem insufficient is not the arguments per se. It is rather that there is no cogent argument for choosing the conventional stance which would at the same time rationally persuade a member of the homeopathic community. The paper concludes that, once we understand that this is the predicament, there is no genuine reason to doubt the reasoning that leads us to reject the pre-trial beliefs of the homeopathic community.
Keywords Alternative medicine  Complementary medicine  Homeopathy  Pre-trial belief  Subjective probabilities
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11019-010-9279-7
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 44,327
External links

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

Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
The Essential Tension.T. S. Kuhn - 1977 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 31 (4):359-375.
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.DAVID HUME - 1955 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press. pp. 112.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Prosecutor and the Presumption of Innocence.Richard L. Lippke - 2014 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 8 (2):337-352.
Degrees of Influence and the Problem of Pre-Emption.Cei Maslen - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (4):577 – 594.
The Right to Trial by Jury.Thom Brooks - 2004 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 21 (2):197–212.
The Morality of Clinical Research – a Case Study.Torbjörn Tännsjö - 1994 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 19 (1):7-21.


Added to PP index

Total views
39 ( #219,093 of 2,271,531 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #111,371 of 2,271,531 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature