Diagnostic Parsimony

Ockham Meets Bayes





Diagnosis, Parsimony, Bayes, Ockham's Razor, Probability


Ockham’s razor is the idea that simpler hypotheses are to be preferred over more complex ones. In the context of medical diagnosis, this is taken to mean that when a patient has multiple symptoms, a single diagnosis should be sought that accounts for all the clinical features, rather than attributing a different diagnosis to each. This paper examines whether diagnostic parsimony can be justified by reference to probability theory. I argue that while attempts to offer universal justifications of diagnostic parsimony fail, a more constrained use of this diagnostic principle can be supported.


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How to Cite

Autzen, B. (2022). Diagnostic Parsimony: Ockham Meets Bayes. Philosophy of Medicine, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.5195/pom.2022.123




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