• H. Tristram EngelhardtJr.
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 40)


Knowledge is always value-laden. It is value-laden in the sense that the acquisition of knowledge involves costs. Knowledge is value-laden as well in that the structure given to information derives in part from epistemic and non-epistemic values, from the ways in which one regards certain forms of knowledge as having greater excellence or greater usefulness. Knowledge takes on value from its implications for action. Various values, goals, and purposes cast their light and shadow across that which is known. What we seek to know and how we structure what we see depends on what we expect to see and want to see. In order to move from poorly structured to sell-structured problems, one needs already to know what will generally count as information or noise. Background assumptions direct the psychology of discovery, so that one recognizes certain things and ignores others. Choices among ways of seeing the world have costs and are directed by values. Diagnosis is value-laden and invites moral reflection.


Medical Knowledge Medical Finding Sick Role Moral Reflection High Power Microscopic Field 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

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  • H. Tristram EngelhardtJr.

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