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Conceptual and theoretical specifications towards accuracy in medicine

Cover slide from the talk “Conceptual and theoretical specifications towards accuracy in medicine”

Technological developments in genomics and other omics methods originated the idea that precise measurements of these biological properties could lead to better therapeutic strategies. However, precision does not entail accuracy. Scientific accuracy requires a theoretical framework to understand the meaning of measurements, the nature of causal relationships, and potential intrinsic limitations of knowledge. For example, a precise measurement of initial position in classical mechanics is useless without a measurement of the initial velocity. Moreover, even in this deterministic framework, precise measurements do not entail predictability in the case of chaotic dynamics. These examples show that conceptual and theoretical accuracy is required for precision to entail progress of knowledge and rationality in action. We outline our results in search of a theory of organisms. Biology is distinct from physics and requires a specific epistemology. For example, we develop the meaning of biological measurements, where historicity is a fundamental notion. We also emphasize that the historicity of biological norms that stems from evolutionary theory implies that patients and groups of patients can play an active role in establishing new norms to overcome a pathological situation, in line with the philosophy of G. Canguilhem. This dimension of medicine is required for accuracy.

Montévil, M. 2020. “Conceptual and Theoretical Specifications towards Accuracy in Medicine.” In Personalized Medicine : A Multidisciplinary Approach to Complexity. https://philpharmblog.wordpress.com/2020/11/15/experts-meeting-personalized-medicine-a-multidisciplinary-approach-to-complexity/
Program of the event.