Epistemic Trust, Epistemic Responsibility, and Medical Practice
Schwab, Abraham P.
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 2008 August; 33(4): 302-320
Epistemic trust is an unacknowledged feature of medical knowledge. Claims of medical knowledge made by physicians, patients, and others require epistemic trust. And yet, it would be foolish to define all epistemic trust as epistemically responsible. Accordingly, I use a routine example in medical practice (a diagnostic test) to illustrate how epistemically responsible trust in medicine is trust in epistemically responsible individuals. I go on to illustrate how certain areas of current medical practice of medicine fall short of adequately distinguishing reliable and unreliable processes because of a failure to systematically evaluate health outcomes. I conclude by articulating the devastating obstacles to the consilience assumption, which takes intellectual character (rather than reliable belief-forming processes) as the standard for epistemic responsibility.
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