/TIL Occams Razor has a counterargument in medicine called "Hickams Dictum" (by Dr. John Hickam!). Some doctors (using Occams) look for a single, elegant cause for all of a patients symptoms. But Hickams Dictum says: "A man can have as many diseases as he damn well pleases."

TIL Occams Razor has a counterargument in medicine called "Hickams Dictum" (by Dr. John Hickam!). Some doctors (using Occams) look for a single, elegant cause for all of a patients symptoms. But Hickams Dictum says: "A man can have as many diseases as he damn well pleases."

Hickam’s dictum is a counterargument to the use of Occam’s razor in the medical profession.[1] While Occam’s razor suggests that the simplest explanation is the most likely, implying in medicine that diagnosticians should assume a single cause for multiple symptoms, one form of Hickam’s dictum states: “A man can have as many diseases as he damn well pleases.”[2] The principle is attributed to John Hickam, MD.[citation needed] When he began saying this is uncertain. In 1946 he was a housestaff member in medicine at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Hickam was a faculty member at Duke University in the 1950s, and was later chairman of medicine at Indiana University from 1958 to 1970.[3] He died at age 55 in 1970. [4]

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External links[edit]

  1. ^ See, e.g., “Hickam’s Dictum versus Occam’s Razor: A Case for Occam.”
    W. Bradley Fields, MD, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI (2005) ([1] )
  2. ^ Wallace T. Miller, “Letter From the Editor: Occam Versus Hickam”, Seminars in Roentenology, vol. 33 (3), 1998-07, page 213, attributed to “an apocryphal physician named Hickam”
  3. ^ Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology: September 2002 – Volume 22 – Issue 3 – pp 240-246 ([2] )
  4. ^ ([3])