Ethicist: Studies have documented the capacity of placebos to reduce pain in patients who believe that they are re...

Facundo on January 15, 2016


I dont understand this passage

1 Reply

Mehran on January 25, 2016

The conclusion here is that "administering placebos is nonetheless ethically questionable."

The support (i.e. premise) provided for this conclusion? Because even if a placebo benefits a patient, a doctor might have prescribed it just to give the patient satisfaction that something was being done.

Notice the gap in this argument. The premise is about the doctor's motivation for prescribing the placebo and the conclusion drawn is that administering placebos is ethically questionable.

This is a Strengthen with Necessary Premise question so we are looking for the necessary assumption.

(B) states "the motivation for administering a placebo can be relevant to the ethical justification for doing so."

This clearly strengthens the argument by closing the gap between the doctor's motivation and ethically questionable.

Now let's negate (B) to make sure that it is also NECESSARY to the argument.

The negation of (B) is: the motivation for administering a placebo CANNOT be relevant to the ethical justification for doing so.

The negation of (B) would destroy the argument so (B) is the necessary assumption.

Hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any other questions.