Boiling down the Issue

McGoey refers us to a vital quote from Nikolas Rose concerning the manner in which we understand scientific fact, ‘Impersonality rather than status, wisdom or experience should dictate the delivery of medical car and direction of scientific invention.’ This point is particularly interesting because it does nothing to bolster either side of the argument re. the placebo/antidepressant debate. Rather it reveals an interesting phenomenon which may well be found to be historically recent, yet it is one which dominates the scientific method. I was equally struck by the reaction of Lewis Walport in the debate because I recently had a similar experience, assured in my opinion that pharmaceuticals were an evil plot to exploit individuals I was simply told in response that, ‘I was depressed and antidepressants have worked for me.’ I had no counter argument to this point. Perhaps this debate should be boiled down to a more specific point, because as far as I see it if a drug is effective this is beneficial whether it is due to placebo effect or not. However the situation does become morally reprehensible when significant side-effects come into the equation, or when the patient is being blatantly ripped off. To return to Rose’s point, maybe the ideal situation is one where we rely on the personal experiences of others in order to inform our choice about pharmaceuticals, and allow for the subjective nature of our shared experience to breathe freely.   

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