, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 387-390
Date: 15 Nov 2011

Philosophy of medicine: between clinical trials and mechanisms

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Philosophy of medicine is an emerging and rapidly expanding area in philosophy. Traditionally, philosophy of medicine has been associated with ethical issues arising in biomedical research or medical practice. For instance, ‘traditional’ philosophy of medicine addresses the issue of whether it is ethical or not to conduct research on stem cells, whether we should accept euthanasia or whether it is ethical to deliver web-based diagnoses online to patients. In the last few years, however, scholars in both biomedicine and in philosophy started paying attention to the epistemological and methodological aspects of medicine. For instance, they address the issue of what notion of cause is applicable in biomedical contexts, or what procedures grant extrapolations from animal models to humans. These discussions are carried out in a highly interdisciplinary spirit.

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is an emerging area within medicine. Its main objective is to raise medicine to the realm of objective ...