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"Doctor Knows Best": On the Epistemic Authority of the Medical Practitioner

Popowicz, Dylan Mirek (2021) "Doctor Knows Best": On the Epistemic Authority of the Medical Practitioner. Philosophy of Medicine, 2 (2). pp. 1-23. ISSN 2692-3963

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We often consider medical practitioners to be epistemic authorities: “Doctor knows best,” as the saying goes. The place of expert judgment in evidence-based medicine hierarchies, and the crucial role of patient preferences and values in medical decision-making, however, pose problems for making sense of such authority. I argue that there is an account of such medical epistemic authority that does justice to the complexities of the doctor–patient relationship, while maintaining that medical practitioners hold an epistemically privileged position. Such a view can better inform medical practice by clearly illuminating the distinct roles of patients and doctors in decision-making processes.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Popowicz, Dylan Mirekdylan.popowicz@csus.edu0000-0002-4903-4274
Keywords: Epistemic authority Medical authority Expertise Doctor-patient relationship
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Medicine
Depositing User: Professor Alex Broadbent
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2022 00:43
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2022 00:43
Item ID: 21168
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy of Medicine
Publisher: University Library System, University of Pittsburgh
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.5195/pom.2021.49
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Medicine
Date: 17 December 2021
Page Range: pp. 1-23
Volume: 2
Number: 2
ISSN: 2692-3963

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