The notions of health, illness, and disease are fuzzy-theoretically analyzed. They present themselves as non-Aristotelian concepts violating basic principles of classical logic. A recursive scheme for defining the controversial notion of disease is proposed that also supports a concept of fuzzy disease. A sketch is given of the prototype resemblance theory of disease.
On the basis of a ten-place comparative value relation, artificially reduced to a binary relation, some human value structures are studied and a concept of value kinematics is proposed. A miniature value logic is outlined, making it possible with precision to handle several explicated value notions and to analyze interrelations between them. Finally, the question is discussed whether health can be said to be an absolute and an intrinsic value.
What follows is a brief comment on Ludwik Fleck's paper on the foundations of medical knowledge translated by Thaddeus J. Trenn in this issue. Since the original is much older than I am, I have some scruples in presenting the critical thoughts which occurred to me when I read it a few years ago. Despite the criticism, I am very sympathetic to most of what Fleck has told us in his tragically neglected work. Two facts make Fleck's tragedy even more (...) disturbing: (i) others have given rise to post-Fleck revolutions in epistemology by exploiting his ideas while omitting proper references to him, and (ii) sociology of science, precisely what Fleck wanted to promote, has emerged without his work being operative in any sense. In my commentary, I shall examine his concept of social conditioning of knowledge. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The question is raised whether it would be beneficial to establish a clinical praxiology for the sake of a multi-focused inquiry into the foundations of clinical pratice. Beginning with the concept of medical diagnosis, a framework is presented which makes it possible to view diagnosis as an element of a complex structure whose adequate analysis requires at least comparative diagnostic methodology and epistemology.
Patrick Suppes'' set-theoretical approach to the analysis of theories, and Joseph D. Sneed''s metatheory are briefly outlined. The notions of observation, illusion and hallucination are reconstructed according to these approaches. It is argued that the terms perception and truth are theoretical with respect to observation but nontheoretical with respect to illusion and hallucination. Hallucination is construed as a special kind of illusion.
The concepts of categorical diagnosis and conjectural diagnosis are introduced. It is argued that in diagnostic reasoning conjectural diagnosis plays a more important role than categorical diagnosis. Attention is called to the inevitable vagueness of clinical language and to the suitability of epistemic logic and fuzzy logic for diagnostic reasoning.
Two common medical-ethical axions, the health-maximizing axiom and the personhood-respecting axiom, are discussed. On the basis of a philosophical analysis of personhood and freedom of the will it is shown that these two axioms are incompatible. The rejection of the first axiom is suggested.
Due to the intricate nature of its subject matter, medicine is always threatened by speculations and disagreements about which among its entities exist, e.g., any specific biological structures, substructures or substances, pathogenic agents, pathophysiological processes, diseases, psychosomatic relationships, therapeutic effects, and other possible and impossible things. To avoid confusion, and to determine what entities an item of medical knowledge presupposes to exist if it is to be true, we need medical ontology. The term “medical ontology” we understand to mean the (...) study that seeks to ascertain what entities exist in the world of medicine, which formal relations hold between them, and whether there are any relatioships between types of medical research and practice, on the one hand; and the new worlds they create, on the other. (shrink)