Exemplar reasoning about biological models and diseases: A relation between the philosophy of medicine and philosophy of science
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 11 (1):63-80 (1986)
the structure of medical science with a special focus on the role of generalizations and universals in medicine, and (2) philosophy of medicine's relation with the philosophy of science. I argue that a usually overlooked aspect of Kuhnian paradigms, namely, their characteristic of being "exemplars", is of considerable significance in the biomedical sciences. This significance rests on certain important differences from the physical sciences in the nature of theories in the basic and the clinical medical sciences. I describe those differences and maintain that they are these differentiating features that require the use of more comparative and analogical reasoning in medicine. I suggest that Kitcher's recent introduction of the notion of a ‘practice’ may have similar implications if it is construed to contain more analogical elements than he appears to recognize in his initial formulation. Finally I argue that though Gorovitz and MacIntyre's characterization of medicine as a "science of particulars" bears some similarities with my thesis, I maintain that such a position without careful qualification can lead to ignoring both the nature of generalizations in these sciences and their role as positive analogies tying together a family of overlapping models. Keywords: medical reasoning, biomedical theories/paradigms, science of particulars, philosophy of medicine CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
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