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A fictionalist account of open-label placebo.

Hardman, D., 2024. A fictionalist account of open-label placebo. The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy.

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DOI: 10.1093/jmp/jhae008


The placebo effect is now generally defined widely as an individual’s response to the psychosocial context of a clinical treatment, as distinct from the treatment’s characteristic physiological effects. Some researchers, however, argue that such a wide definition leads to confusion and misleading implications. In response, they propose a narrow definition restricted to the therapeutic effects of deliberate placebo treatments. Within the framework of modern medicine, such a scope currently leaves one viable placebo treatment paradigm: the non-deceptive and non-concealed administration of “placebo pills” or open-label placebo (OLP) treatment. In this paper, I consider how the placebo effect occurs in OLP. I argue that a traditional, belief-based account of OLP is paradoxical. Instead, I propose an account based on the non-doxastic attitude of pretence, understood within a fictionalist framework.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:fictionalism; non-doxastic attitudes; open-label placebo; placebo effect; pretence
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:39644
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:27 Mar 2024 16:24
Last Modified:27 Mar 2024 16:24


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