November 19, 1997

The Logic of Medicine

Author Affiliations

Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital Hines, Ill


by Edmond A. Murphy, 2nd ed, 511 pp, with illus, $55, ISBN 0-8018-5415-6, paper, $29.95, ISBN 0-8018-5538-1, Baltimore, Md, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997.

JAMA. 1997;278(19):1628. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550190098058

Logic can be viewed as the intersection of philosophy and mathematics, dealing with the validity of inference and demonstration. Physics employs pure logic; medicine often has to rely on fuzzy logic. In comparing proofs in physics and in medicine the question is not "Is a particular theory true or false?" but rather "Is it truer or falser?" In this work the author tries to bring these sciences closer together to establish a firmer philosophical foundation for evaluating what we know and do in medicine today.

Murphy was professor of medicine and director of the division of medical genetics at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine when he first wrote a trilogy dealing with the scientific infrastructure of medicine, the first edition of this work1 with companion volumes on probability2 and statistics.3 As professor emeritus, he now presents this second edition on logic. Extensive