David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 11 (1) (1990)
I argue that clinical medicine can best be understood not as a purified science but as a hermeneutical enterprise: that is, as involved with the interpretation of texts. The literary critic reading a novel, the judge asked to apply a law, must arrive at a coherent reading of their respective texts. Similarly, the physician interprets the text of the ill person: clinical signs and symptoms are read to ferret out their meaning, the underlying disease. However, I suggest that the hermeneutics of medicine is rendered uniquely complex by its wide variety of textual forms. I discuss four in turn: the experiential text of illness as lived out by the patient; the narrative text constituted during history-taking; the physical text of the patient's body as objectively examined; the instrumental text constructed by diagnostic technologies. I further suggest that certain flaws in modern medicine arise from its refusal of a hermeneutic self-understanding. In seeking to escape all interpretive subjectivity, medicine has threatened to expunge its primary subject — the living, experiencing patient.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Kirsti Malterud (2002). Reflexivity and Metapositions: Strategies for Appraisal of Clinical Evidence. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 8 (2):121-126.
Havi Carel (2009). A Reply to 'Towards an Understanding of Nursing as a Response to Human Vulnerability' by Derek Sellman: Vulnerability and Illness. Nursing Philosophy 10 (3):214-219.
Mark H. Waymack (2009). Yearning for Certainty and the Critique of Medicine as “Science”. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 30 (3):215-229.
Michael H. Kottow (2001). Between Caring and Curing. Nursing Philosophy 2 (1):53-61.
Diego Gracia (1995). Hard Times, Hard Choices: Founding Bioethics Today. Bioethics 9 (3):192–206.
Similar books and articles
David C. Thomasma (1994). Clinical Ethics as Medical Hermeneutics. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 15 (2).
Wim Dekkers (1998). Hermeneutics and Experiences of the Body. The Case of Low Back Pain. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 19 (3):277-293.
Larry R. Churchill (1990). Hermeneutics in Science and Medicine: A Thesis Understated. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 11 (2).
Richard J. Baron (1990). Medical Hermeneutics: Where is the “Text” We Are Interpreting? Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 11 (1).
F. Svenaeus (2000). Hermeneutics of Clinical Practice: The Question of Textuality. [REVIEW] Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 21 (2):171-189.
Kathryn Montgomery (2006). How Doctors Think: Clinical Judgment and the Practice of Medicine. Oxford University Press.
M. Wayne Cooper (1994). Is Medicine Hermeneutics All the Way Down? Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 15 (2).
James S. Terry (1987). Medicine as Interpretation: The Uses of Literary Metaphors and Methods. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 12 (3):205-217.
Carol A. Bowman (1992). Meta-Diagnosis: Towards a Hermeneutical Perspective in Medicine with an Emphasis on Alcoholism. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 13 (3).
Stephen L. Daniel (1986). The Patient as Text: A Model of Clinical Hermeneutics. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 7 (2).
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads50 ( #90,667 of 1,938,622 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #216,993 of 1,938,622 )
How can I increase my downloads?