Paradoxical drug response and the placebo effect: A discussion of Grunbaum's definitional scheme

Grunbaum claims that the remedial failure of atreatment's characteristic factors is thegeneric, objective property of a placebo. Hestipulates that a treatment is placebic if thisremedial failure exacerbates the targetdisorder. This stipulation can subsume asplacebic effects that might be solelypharmacological, e.g., paradoxical reactions tocertain psychiatric drugs. If that exacerbationcan be explained pharmacologically, then wemight question whether Grunbaum's definitionalscheme captures the core identity of what weusually intend by the placebo concept. Ipropose that this core identity is bestcaptured by a symbolic meaning hypothesis inwhich psychological factors exert thedeterminative influence.
Keywords characteristic factors  Greenwood  Grunbaum  incidental factors  paradoxical drug response  placebo  remedial failure
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DOI 10.1023/A:1022988413047
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