Month: September 2015

Suppose a patient P is informed by a medical doctor that she has a certain disease and that she is expected to survive for two further years. What consequences for her life should P draw from this information? It seems that without further knowledge, she can draw no precise consequences at all.  P has to know how the doctor came to this decision. This is so because of the reference-class problem.

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Antibiotics play a crucial role in modern medicine by controlling bacterial infection. For instance, much surgery would be life-threatening without an ability to control infection. However, antibiotics are becoming less effective due to antimicrobial resistance. The overuse of antibiotics gives bacteria that happen to be resistant a greater chance of spreading. In the words of a Public Health England report: ‘Antibiotics are unlike other drugs used in medicine, as the more we use them the less effective they become.’

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