By Kathryn Montgomery

How medical professionals Think defines the character and significance of medical judgment. even supposing physicians utilize technological know-how, this publication argues that medication isn't really itself a technology yet relatively an interpretive perform that is dependent upon medical reasoning. a doctor appears on the patient's background in addition to the providing actual symptoms and juxtaposes those with medical event and empirical reports to build a tentative account of the disease. How medical professionals Think is split into 4 elements. half one introduces the concept that of drugs as a convention instead of a technology; half discusses the assumption of causation; half 3 delves into the method of forming medical judgment; and half 4 considers medical judgment in the doubtful nature of drugs itself. In How medical professionals Think, Montgomery contends that assuming medication is exactly a technological know-how could have opposed uncomfortable side effects, and indicates lowering those through spotting the very important position of scientific judgment.

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They cannot begin by reasoning from the general rule to the particular case because biological laws are too abstract and imprecise to be applied uniformly to every patient. Instead they must reason from the particular to the general and then (for confirmation) back again. They start with the details of the present illness—is the pain sharp or dull? —all the while fitting the answers into a complex and general taxonomy of paradigm cases of disease. Because understanding an individual instance of illness requires an inquiry into its circumstances, diagnosis is an interpretive negotiation of the particular signs and symptoms and their development over time.

11 Nevertheless, in medicine—and often in the analytic philosophy that bioethics draws on—science continues to be the model for knowing. So pervasive is the misdescription of practical reason in Western culture that the philosopher Charles Taylor has argued that it warps contemporary attitudes toward rationality. ” 12 Physicians use both the scientific or hypothetico-deductive and the practical or interpretive and narrative, but it is the latter that makes them clinicians. They rely, of course, on what biologists know and learn, for while medicine is not itself a science, it is undoubtedly a rational, science-using practice.

In the process, practical reasoning is distinguished from wisdom and from scientific knowledge: inquiries into ethics and health, Aristotle writes, are particular, circumstantial, and therefore necessarily uncertain: The type of accounts we demand should reflect the subject matter, and questions about actions and expediency, like questions about health, have no fixed and invariable answers. And when our general account is so inexact, the account of particular cases is all the more inexact . . and the agents themselves must consider in each case what the opportune action is.

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