The significance of Emmanuel Levinas’ ethics of responsibility for medical judgment

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 25 (3):327-332 (2022)
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At a time when the practice of medicine is subject to technical and biopolitical imperatives that give rise to defensive bioethics, it is essential to revitalize the ethical dimensions of care at the very heart of the clinic, in order to give new meaning to the moral responsibility that inhabits it. This contribution seeks to meet this challenge by drawing on the ethical resources of the work of Emmanuel Levinas. In Levinas’ view, ethical responsibility is the response to the injunction, the interpellation, of the other’s face, and humaneness is conceived entangled in the other’s face. Against this background, I suggest that Levinas’ philosophical insight constitutes a turning point from a traditional to a new conception of responsibility that may bear great significance to a renewed understanding of an hermeneutics and an ethics of care. By drawing on this aspect of Levinas’ thought, I would like to reveal the ethical core of an ethics of clinical care that shapes a new insight on medical judgment.



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Totality and infinity: an essay on exteriority.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961 - Hingham, MA: distribution for the U.S. and Canada, Kluwer Boston.
Otherwise than being: or, Beyond essence.Emmanuel Levinas - 1974 - Hingham, MA: Distributors for the U.S. and Canada, Kluwer Boston.
Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas.Jacques Derrida - 1999 - Stanford University Press.
Ricoeur and the ethics of care.Inge van Nistelrooij, Petruschka Schaafsma & Joan C. Tronto - 2014 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 17 (4):485-491.

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