Value Presuppositions of Diagnosis: A Case Study in Diagnosing Cervical Cancer

  • Mary Ann Gardell Cutter
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 40)


Through diagnosis a clinician approaches disorders by applying an explanatory account that allows the patient to be cast in a clinical category and therapy role. Because diagnosis usually involves understanding and undertaking clinical problems through pathoanatomical and pathophysiological frameworks, clinical diagnosis is theory-ladened. Diagnosis also involves judgments about the worthiness of particular conditions for special attention. These judgments involve evaluative considerations, and turn in part on accepted norms of scientific investigation and therapeutic success. As a result, diagnosis is pursued not solely for its own sake, but also for the sake of satisfying certain evaluative frameworks. In other words, clinicians seek to know well, as opposed to simply knowing truly the character of clinical problems. In short, diagnosis is contextual and intervention-oriented.


Cervical Cancer Clinical Problem Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia Moral Community Severe Dysplasia 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Ann Gardell Cutter
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ColoradoColorado Springs

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