Intended for healthcare professionals

Editor's Choice

Critical thinking

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b1662 (Published 23 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1662

Rx for Logical Reasoning

Philosophers and logicians teach us that there are two kinds of reasoning:
deductive (a priori) and inductive (a posteriori). The former involves reasoning
from cause to effect, and from general to particular; while the latter involves
reasoning from effect to cause, and from particular to general. Like most
sciences, healthcare tends to emphasize the value of deductive reasoning at the
expense of inductive reasoning. I propose that this imbalance is hindering
medical progress and requires the corrective input of philosophers and
logicians, both of whom understand the dual and contradictory nature of
reason and reality.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

27 August 2009
Hugh Mann
Physician
Eagle Rock, MO 65641 USA