Theories of truth and teaching clinical reasoning and problem solving.Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 2019 10; 24(4):839-848.AH
In this paper, we will first discuss two current meta-theories dealing with different, aspects of "truth". The first metatheory conceives of truth in terms of coherence (rationality, consistency): a body of knowledge is true when it contains no inconsistencies and has at least some credibility. The second metatheory conceives of truth as correspondence, i.e., empirical accuracy. The two metatheories supplement each other, but are also incommensurable, i.e., they cannot be expressed in each other's terms, for they employ completely different criteria to establish truth (Englebretsen in Bare facts and naked truths: a new correspondence theory of truth, Routledge, London, 2005). We will discuss both the role of both metatheories in medicine, in particular in medical education in a clinical context. In line with Hammond's view (Med Decis Mak 16(3):281-287, 1996a; Human judgment and social policy: irreducible uncertainty, inevitable error, unavoidable injustice, Oxford University Press, New York, 1996b), we will extend the two metatheories to two forms of competence: coherence competence and correspondence competence, and demonstrate that distinguishing these two forms of competence increases our insights as to the best way to teach undergraduate students clinical problem solving.