MM on ME

 

Apr 5, 2010

 

 

 

Semantics of "can" and "may"

Hello Gerwyn and others,

Quote Originally Posted by Gerwyn View Post
NO you are not mistaken

5. Consider cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The goal of CBT in the management of CFS is to help patients cope with their illness, change behaviors that can contribute to symptom expression, and develop an individualized activity plan to avoid postexertional malaise on one extreme and deconditioning on the other. While CBT is frequently prescribed as a coping strategy, it can also improve function and activity levels.

That statement is completely false.There is no scientific evidence in support of this whatsoever

Hmm... I'd say the second part is (empirically) meaningless and either devious or stupid:

 

 

While CBT is frequently prescribed as a coping strategy, it can also improve function and activity levels.

The usages of "can" and "may" in the social sciences as in politics are very, VERY slippery and they are usually used to produce waffle or something that "may" be so or "can" be so because anything whatsoever that is no logical contradiction "may" be so or "can" be so.

This is one of the reasons I rarely read or listen to politicians and why I avoid the social sciences mostly, apart from the classics: Too much "may be" and "can be", on the pattern

"It can be affirmed that therapy X may be the cure for all diseases".

Maarten.

P.S. "We all labour against our own cure, for death is the cure for all diseases."
Sir Thomas Browne, 17th C

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