Many controversies in medical science can be framed as tension between a coherence approach (which seeks logic and explanation) and a correspondence approach (which emphasizes empirical correctness). In many instances, a coherence-based theory leads to an understanding of disease that is not supported by empirical evidence. Physicians and patients alike tend to favor the coherence approach even in the face of strong, contradictory correspondence evidence. Examples include the management of atrial fibrillation, treatment of acute bronchitis, and the use of Vitamin E to prevent heart disease. Despite the frequent occurrence of controversy stemming from coherence-correspondence conflicts, medical professionals are generally unaware of these terms and the philosophical traditions that underlie them. Learning about the coherence-correspondence distinction and using the best of both approaches could not only help reconcile controversy but also lead to striking advances in medical science
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