One reason this is an unusually difficult problem is that the patient’s view of what is happening is part of what is happening. As great physicists have noted, the mind is real. The placebo effect is one of the most powerful effects in medicine, which is why drugs must be tested against placebo (control group). Not because placebo doesn’t work but precisely because it does.
See also: Neuroscience tried wholly embracing naturalism, but then the brain got away
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