March 11, 2018

The rethorical work of modern medicine

Bodies in Flux; Scientific Methods for Negotiating Medical Uncertainty

Evidence and persuasion play a crucial role in everyday task of any physician. That is, knowing the evidence of what works, and persuading that the treatment will succeed in a specific disease.
But how are evidential worlds assembled from bodies in perpetual flux? From where does medicine’s evidential weight hail? What protocols and procedures elevate everyday
biological activities to positions of argumentative authority?
 Defining and diagnosing disease is a kind of quixotic empiricism. It requires taking what’s known now and making best guesses about what’s to come. Yet, as physicist and philosopher David Bohm (1981) argues, “all is flux”
 After nearly a decade of studying evidential construction in the biomedical backstage, I have identified four specific methods with which medical professionals attune to corporeal flux in cancer care: evidential visualization, assessment, synthesis, and computation.
These are the approaches that a new book highlights in detail. In chapter 6 I suggest you read the section "Medical care as phronesis",
Phronesis is one of “the five expressions of care discussed in Book VI of the Ethics” and is a “mode that deals with the contingent and the possible”. Typically, phronesis (defined by Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics as “prudence”) is set counter to another rhetorical construct, metis.
A book highly recommended for those that want a fresh perspective on evidence based medicine and rethorics.