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Medical Nihilism$
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Jacob Stegenga

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747048

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198747048.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 July 2021

Effectiveness and Medicalization

Effectiveness and Medicalization

(p.40) 3 Effectiveness and Medicalization
Medical Nihilism

Jacob Stegenga

Oxford University Press

This chapter further articulates the hybrid account of effectiveness presented in Chapter 2 and applies it to several pressing problems with disease attribution. A medical intervention can act at several physical scales or levels; it is at least pragmatically useful to think of some of our most effective medical interventions (‘magic bullets’) operating at microphysiological levels. A medical intervention can be effective to varying degrees of generality, though ultimately what matters for the typical patient is whether or not an intervention will be effective for that patient. The hybrid account of disease affords a critical stance on several troubling phenomena in medical science, including medicalization or ‘disease-mongering’ and overdiagnosis and overtreatment. The chapter ends by addressing several objections that might be raised against the hybrid account of effectiveness presented in Chapter 2 and its further articulation and application here.

Keywords:   effectiveness, medicalization, overdiagnosis, levels of effectiveness, overtreatment

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