Should we distrust medical interventions?
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Stegenga’s book is designed to defend a thesis which he calls: ‘medical nihilism’; but what exactly is ‘medical nihilism’? A seemingly clear definition of the term is given on p. 1: ‘Medical nihilism is the view that we should have little confidence in the effectiveness of medical interventions.’ This appears to be a strong thesis applying to all medical interventions. I will call it ‘S.’ Yet later in the book an open-ended list of exceptions is given. Thus, on p. 5 Stegenga says: ‘Surely my view does not warrant distrust in all of medicine? … for many infections, antibiotics; for some diabetics, insulin—there are a handful of truly amazing medical interventions.’
Medical nihilism is not the audacious view that there...