Medicine is not science: guessing the future, predicting the past


Authors
Abstract
Abstract Rationale, aims and objectives: Irregularity limits human ability to know, understand and predict. A better understanding of irregularity may improve the reliability of knowledge. Method: Irregularity and its consequences for knowledge are considered. Results: Reliable predictive empirical knowledge of the physical world has always been obtained by observation of regularities, without needing science or theory. Prediction from observational knowledge can remain reliable despite some theories based on it proving false. A naïve theory of irregularity is outlined. Reducing irregularity and/or increasing regularity can increase the reliability of knowledge. Beyond long experience and specialization, improvements include implementing supporting knowledge systems of libraries of appropriately classified prior cases and clinical histories and education about expertise, intuition and professional judgement. Conclusions: A consequence of irregularity and complexity is that classical reductionist science cannot provide reliable predictions of the behaviour of complex systems found in nature, including of the human body. Expertise, expert judgement and their exercise appear overarching. Diagnosis involves predicting the past will recur in the current patient applying expertise and intuition from knowledge and experience of previous cases and probabilistic medical theory. Treatment decisions are an educated guess about the future (prognosis). Benefits of the improvements suggested here are likely in fields where paucity of feedback for practitioners limits development of reliable expert diagnostic intuition. Further analysis, definition and classification of irregularity is appropriate. Observing and recording irregularities are initial steps in developing irregularity theory to improve the reliability and extent of knowledge, albeit some forms of irregularity present inherent difficulties.
Keywords complexity  evidence-based medicine  expert judgement  intuition  irregularity theory  observational knowledge
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2014
DOI 10.1111/jep.12197
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
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

Science and Method.Henri Poincaré - 1952 - New York]Dover Publications.
An Essay on Metaphysics.R. G. Collingwood - 1940 - Oxford University Press.
Medicine is Not Science.Clifford Miller & Donald W. Miller - 2014 - European Journal for Person Centered Healthcare 2 (2):144-153.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Past, Present, Future, and Special Relativity.Natasa Rakic - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (2):257-280.
Collaboration Efforts in Science Between Japan and Other Countries: Past, Present, and Future.F. Sakai - 1985 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 29 (3 Pt 2):S57 - 65.
Past Longevity as Evidence for the Future.Ronald Pisaturo - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (1):73-100.
Judging the Future: Whose Fault Will It Be?Daniel Callahan - 2000 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 25 (6):677 – 687.
Some Results About (+) Proved by Iterated Forcing.Tetsuya Ishiu & Paul B. Larson - 2012 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 77 (2):515-531.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-06-23

Total views
161 ( #51,200 of 2,289,446 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
19 ( #43,038 of 2,289,446 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature