Hermeneutics and the philosophy of medicine: Hans-Georg gadamer'splatonic metaphor

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 20 (5):413-422 (1999)
Taking as our starting point Plato'smetaphor of the doctor as philosopher we reflect on some aspects of the epistemological status of medicine. The framework to this paper is the hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer which shows the paradoxical nature of Western medicine in choosing the body-object as its investigative starting point, while in actual fact dealing with subjects. Gadamer proposes a model of medicine as the art of understanding and dialogue, which is capable of bringing together its various constituent parts, i.e. knowledge, knowing how to do and knowing how to be, in medical practice and in the physician'straining. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the dyadic figure of the physician as Platonic master of the living totality and wounded healer, capable of activating the patient'sself-healing capacity.
Keywords hermeneutics  medicine  the doctor--patient relationship
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