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Diagnosing Well and Treating Prudently: Randomized Clinical Trials and the Problem of Knowing Truly

  • H. Tristram EngelhardtJr.
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 28)

Abstract

All human knowledge is tentative and provisional, and medical knowledge is no exception. Explanations of diseases and disease processes are tied to patho-anatomical, physiological, and microbiological theories that change with time. So too, the best of standard care is open to revision as better knowledge comes to hand. Medicine is, as all other human endeavors, bound to the history and culture of its setting. Moreover, since the nature of the world is in part opaque to, or at least recalcitrant before the inquiries of human reason, explanations of medical problems and attempts to remedy them are always less than ideal. In fact, the limitations of human knowledge destine medical interventions to being not only less than fully efficacious, but also to bringing risks of morbidity and mortality that might better have been avoided.

Keywords

Human Experimentation Yellow Fever Mutual Respect National Commission Intellectual Virtue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Tristram EngelhardtJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.The Baylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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