Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 319–327 | Cite as

Priors and Prejudice

  • R.E.G. Upshur


This paper explores the relationship between concepts of probability and hermeneutics. It seeks to examine the relationship between subjective (Bayesian) views of probability and hermeneutic descriptions of understanding. It is argued that Gadamer'saccount of the prejudicial nature of understanding, derived from Heidegger'sanalysis of foreunderstanding, offers a provocative model of clinical reasoning. The implications of this model for “evidence-based” medicine are discussed in conclusion.

hermeneutics probability clinical reasoning evidence-based medicine philosophy of medicine Bayes Theorem 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • R.E.G. Upshur
    • 1
  1. 1.Joint Centre for Bioethics and Department of Family and Community MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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