2016
DOI: 10.1007/s11017-016-9377-5
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The causal explanatory functions of medical diagnoses

Abstract: Diagnoses in medicine are often taken to serve as explanations of patients’ symptoms and signs. This article examines how they do so. I begin by arguing that although some instances of diagnostic explanation can be formulated as covering law arguments, they are explanatory neither in virtue of their argumentative structures nor in virtue of general regularities between diagnoses and clinical presentations. I then consider the theory that medical diagnoses explain symptoms and signs by identifying their actual … Show more

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Cited by 10 publications
(8 citation statements)
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“…(Maung, 2017, p. 52), supports the claim that the diagnosed condition (lung carcinoma) can cause the presenting symptoms (muscle weakness, fragile skin, abdominal obesity). Maung (2017) further notes that providing mechanistic explanations of pathology supports the therapeutic aims of medicine. In understanding the mechanisms at play, physicians/clinicians are able to isolate certain targets in the causal chain, and potentially intervene for therapeutic reasons.…”
Section: Limited Conception Of Evidencementioning
confidence: 99%
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“…(Maung, 2017, p. 52), supports the claim that the diagnosed condition (lung carcinoma) can cause the presenting symptoms (muscle weakness, fragile skin, abdominal obesity). Maung (2017) further notes that providing mechanistic explanations of pathology supports the therapeutic aims of medicine. In understanding the mechanisms at play, physicians/clinicians are able to isolate certain targets in the causal chain, and potentially intervene for therapeutic reasons.…”
Section: Limited Conception Of Evidencementioning
confidence: 99%
“…Each of these forms of reasoning rely on understandings of basic scientific processes in humans and attempt to explain underlying mechanisms of change (Solomon, 2015). Having knowledge of mechanisms provides a richer understanding of causal processes and can be useful for increasing effectiveness in therapy (Maung, 2017), but at the same time, mechanisms are more difficult to evaluate objectively (Russo & Williamson, 2011). A great deal of philosophy of science literature delves into discussions around causality and mechanisms in biology (see, Maung, 2017;Russo & Williamson, 2007Ross, 2018;Thomas & Sharp, 2019), with this research providing clear instances of the value of mechanistic reasoning.…”
Section: Limited Conception Of Evidencementioning
confidence: 99%
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