SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Expert patient intuition -- between experience and expertise
(Philsophy of Science, )

Medicine and humanities have been dealing with a notion of an ``expert patient'' for quite some time now (e.g., Larson et al., 2019, Cordier, 2014, Edgar, 2005). Its oxymoronic ring entails numerous questions, but eventually they are summed to the point of: how do we really functionally incorporate such varied patient input in the treatment?

If this is to be analysed with more definitory precision, the central question to ask is: what kind of knowledge makes a formation of patient expertise? Therefore, this paper will address a particular kind of patient knowledge, sometimes called ``patient intuition'' (Buetow & Mintoft, 2011). Following the assumption that patient possesses both unique and subjective, but also intersubjective first-person knowledge, what remains would be not whether, but when medical practitioners should call upon such an intuition.

First, the main question is to be expanded to clearer epistemic levels where some measurement is possible. On one level, a distinction will be made between knowledge of experience and expertise. On a parallel one should come discernment between common intuition and reasoning, as two different cognitive processes. As these levels intertwine in practice, their mutual influences will be differentiated and compared to the extent to which a therapeutic significance becomes noticeable enough to be contrasted to the general value of each particular insight of one's own well-being. Second, proposed credibility measurements can be applied in at least two cases where patient intuition could be important. 1) In cases of chronic illnesses, where there is enough time to observe, learn, and develop internal patterns of change. In experts, judgement is usually considered to be more reliable if it is formed through the events showing higher regularity in occurrence. It is important to see how this applies to the expert patient (Kahneman & Klein, 2009). 2) In situations where not enough data on the illness is present. Patient intuitions help better frame various contested illnesses, and also possibly help bring effectiveness and efficacy closer (Francis et al., 2018, Worrall, 2010, Cartwright, 2011).

The framework suggested above entails a substantial change in a life perspective, at least in chronic illnesses. More specifically, this leads to highlighting the domains of intuition and reasoning on epistemological levels which recognise the degree of regularity of events. From there, the development of awareness and patterns which give ``expertise'' a supplementary meaning can be traced in a patient, which shows the possibility of establishing certain points of communication of even the most subjective experiences. This then should serve as a tangible point in defining ``expert patient'' beyond a still largely indefinite description of ``having special knowledge and skills'' (Badcott, 2005).


Chair: Daniela Schuster
Time: 17:30-18:00, 09 September 2021 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.006

Andjelija Milic 
(University of Rostock, Serbia)

I am currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Rostock, Germany, and a teaching assistant at the Philosophy Department of the University of Niš, Serbia. My thesis falls under the domain of the philosophy of medicine, and it explores different aspects of patient perspectives and how they interact with the understanding of illness, and approach to treatment. Some of my broader interests concern the relationship between causation and correlation in different contexts, various research on death, as well as questions about the universals.

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