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Diagnostic Parsimony: Ockham Meets Bayes

Autzen, Bengt (2022) Diagnostic Parsimony: Ockham Meets Bayes. Philosophy of Medicine, 3 (1). pp. 1-12. ISSN 2692-3963

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Ockham’s razor is the idea that simpler hypotheses are to be preferred over more complex ones. In the context of medical diagnosis, this is taken to mean that when a patient has multiple symptoms, a single diagnosis should be sought that accounts for all the clinical features, rather than attributing a different diagnosis to each. This paper examines whether diagnostic parsimony can be justified by reference to probability theory. I argue that while attempts to offer universal justifications of diagnostic parsimony fail, a more constrained use of this diagnostic principle can be supported.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Keywords: Diagnosis Parsimony Bayes Ockham's Razor Probability
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Medicine
Depositing User: Professor Alex Broadbent
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2022 13:47
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2022 13:47
Item ID: 21549
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy of Medicine
Publisher: University Library System, University of Pittsburgh
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle:
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Medicine
Date: 1 December 2022
Page Range: pp. 1-12
Volume: 3
Number: 1
ISSN: 2692-3963

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