This volume covers a wide range of conceptual, epistemological and methodological issues in the philosophy of science raised by reflection upon medical science and practice. Several chapters examine such general meta-scientific concepts as discovery, reduction, theories and models, causal inference and scientific realism as they apply to medicine or medical science in particular. Some discuss important concepts specific to medicine (diagnosis, health, disease, brain death). A topic such as evidence, for instance, is examined at a variety of levels, from social mechanisms for guiding evidence-based reasoning such as evidence-based medicine, consensus conferences, and clinical trials, to the more abstract analysis of experimentation, inference and uncertainty. Some chapters reflect on particular domains of medicine, including psychiatry, public health, and nursing.
The contributions span a broad range of detailed cases from the science and practice of medicine, as well as a broad range of intellectual approaches, from conceptual analysis to detailed examinations of particular scientific papers or historical episodes.