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How to make the best decision. Philosophical aspects of clinical decision theory.

Authors
  • Wulff, H R
Type
Published Article
Journal
Medical decision making : an international journal of the Society for Medical Decision Making
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1981
Volume
1
Issue
3
Pages
277–283
Identifiers
PMID: 7052413
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

An attempt is made to discuss some of the philosophical implications of the use of decision-analytic techniques. The probabilities of a decision analysis are subjective measures of belief, and it is concluded that clinicians base their subjective beliefs on both recorded observations and theoretical knowledge. The clinical decision maker also evaluates the consequences of his actions, and therefore clinical decision theory transcends medical science. A number of different schools of normative ethics are mentioned to illustrate the complexity of everyday decision making. The philosophical terminology is useful for the analysis of clinical problems, and it is argued that clinical decision making has both a teleological and a deontological component. The results of decision-analytic studies depend on such factors as the wealth of the country, the organization of the health service, and cultural norms.

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