PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Clinical reasoning: the bayesian approach

We argue for a Bayesian approach to medical evidence and clinical reasoning to help resolve many of medicine's practical conundrums. This approach offers several advantages over the evidence-based medicine (EBM) approach. First, Bayesian confirmation focuses on evidence tokens rather than evidence types, thus providing a fuller assessment of the strength of evidence. Second, it highlights the fact that physicians are not interested in evidence tout court, but in evidence for a particular hypothesis. Finally, while the measurement of probabilities in EBM is shackled to objective frequencies measured in study populations, on the bayesian approach probabilities reflect the clinician’s personal judgment concerning a specific clinical situation.

Author Information:

Luis Flores    
King's College London

Jonathan Fuller    
University of Toronto


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