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Patient preference predictors and the problem of naked statistical evidence
  1. Nathaniel Paul Sharadin
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nathaniel Paul Sharadin, Department of Philosophy, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ 08628, USA; natesharadin{at}


Patient preference predictors (PPPs) promise to provide medical professionals with a new solution to the problem of making treatment decisions on behalf of incapacitated patients. I show that the use of PPPs faces a version of a normative problem familiar from legal scholarship: the problem of naked statistical evidence. I sketch two sorts of possible reply, vindicating and debunking, and suggest that our reply to the problem in the one domain ought to mirror our reply in the other. The conclusion is thus conditional: if we think the problem of naked statistical evidence is a serious problem in the legal domain, then we should be concerned about the symmetrical problem for PPPs.

  • autonomy
  • living wills/advance directives
  • philosophical ethics
  • patient perspective
  • paternalism
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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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