Medicine is epistemologically, ontologically and structurally flawed. This is because it assumes pathology and mind-body duality. These are Cartesian epistemological assumptions and socially constructed ontologies. Cartesian epistemology is reductive; assuming linear causality, and that if you break a problem down into its component parts then you thus understand the whole. Such assumptions are false for emergent phenomena. If symptoms are emergent arising from emergent failure modes, then such reductive assumptions will prevent understanding.
The first ontological problem is that the line between the normal and the pathological is defined by medicine. If symptoms arise from some new mechanism that medicine does not consider to be pathological (e.g. an emergent failure mode) then it will fail to see it, because it’s not looking for it.
The second ontological problem is related to mind-body duality. Nosology for the physical and psychological is seemingly entirely socially constructed from the medical gaze, i.e. for the benefit of medicine. So illnesses with measurable signs are physical, whilst those with observable signs are categorised according to the current politics of the day. So migraines that often cause depression are physical, whilst depression that often causes headaches is psychological. Illnesses that were once considered psychological suddenly become physical once medical technology advances such that it can detect measurable signs. For Medically Unexplained Symptoms (like ME/CFS), there are often neither measurable nor observable signs; the cruelty and perversity of medical nosology is thus harshly exposed.
Pathology and mind-body duality are therefore not only epistemologically flawed (if the symptoms are emergent) but also prevent understanding due to the political nature of the decisions that underlie them.
Finally, structurally, as medicine assumes Cartesian epistemology then it prioritises Cartesian methods, i.e. experiments, over all other scientific methods. If the symptoms are emergent arising from emergent failure modes, then such Cartesian methods (experiments) cannot easily be used to understand non-Cartesian (i.e. emergent) phenomena.
The failure of medicine to understand many illnesses is therefore:
- Epistemological because it assumes Cartesian epistemology.
- Ontological because it fails to appreciate the socially constructed nature of pathology and the physical/psychological.
- Structural because it prioritises methods that cannot be easily used to understand the phenomena it is trying to investigate.
Medicine therefore needs to prioritise (weak) emergent epistemological methods, i.e. modelling supported by fundamental biological research.
I want to address the above through a PhD and/or papers covering the following areas (a Masters is the first step needed to achieve these):
- Philosophy of medicine critique from above.
- Introduction of methods from nuclear safety engineering for identifying potential emergent failure modes.
- Application of methods to the neuron and synapses.
- Model generation.
- Modelling of emergent failure modes (e.g. synapse: upper resonant instability, lower resonance)
- Application of model to ME/CFS etc, PTSD, bipolar, depression, schizophrenia/psychosis and epilepsy.
- I am also interested in patient safety.
The above has the potential to revolutionise medicine, potentially leading to cures for many currently incurable illnesses, relieving the suffering of over a billion people globally.