Vol. 39 No. 1 (2019): The Prismatic Shape of Trust

Placing Trust in Medicine by Dealing with Its Uncertainty

Francesca Marin
Università degli Studi di Padova

Published 2019-06-10


  • trust,
  • medical practice,
  • medical uncertainty,
  • evidence-based medicine,
  • precision medicine,
  • ...More

How to Cite

Placing Trust in Medicine by Dealing with Its Uncertainty. (2019). Teoria. Rivista Di Filosofia, 39(1), 81-96. https://doi.org/10.4454/teoria.v39i1.58


The paper does not merely address the crucial role of trust in medical practice and the ubiquitous presence of uncertainty in medicine, as tends to happen in scientific literature; rather, it goes further by showing that problematic issues arise when the trust-medicine dyad is recognized without the acknowledgment of the medicine-uncertainty dyad, or vice versa. Firstly, it is argued that the trust-medicine-uncertainty interdependency is necessary because there is a kind of irreducible uncertainty due to the epistemological status of medicine, whose presence guarantees well-placed trust in medicine. In this respect, examples of misplaced trust in medicine due to considering medicine as an absolutely certain scientific knowledge and misplaced distrust in medicine as a result of an antiscientific view of medical knowledge are discussed. Secondly, the need for a triple pattern is proved to be urgent because medical advances, rather than diminishing medical uncertainty, are contributing to its increase and even generating new kinds of uncertainties.