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Medical Fact and Ulcer Disease: A Study in Scientific Controversy Resolution

Mark J. Cherry
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Vol. 24, No. 2 (2002), pp. 249-273
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23332387
Page Count: 25
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Medical Fact and Ulcer Disease: A Study in Scientific Controversy Resolution
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Abstract

This study seeks to advance the understanding of controversy resolution in science. I take as a case study conceptualization and treatment of ulcer disease. Analysis of causal accounts and effective treatments illustrate the ways in which competing parallel research programs in medicine embody opposing social, political, and economic forces which are bound to the epistemological dimensions of scientific controversy (e.g., standards of evidence, reference, and inference), and which in turn shift perception of the burden of proof. The analysis illustrates the ways in which (1) medical diagnoses create as much as discover useful distinctions and (2) epistemic and non epistemic values divide scientists into competing research programs, as well as (3) the ways in which these structures often effectively prevent scientific controversy closure.

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