Wonder and the clinical encounter

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 33 (2):123-136 (2012)
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In terms of intervening in embodied experience, medical treatment is wonder-full in its ambition and its metaphysical presumption; yet, wonder’s role in clinical medicine has received little philosophical attention. In this paper, I propose, to doctors and others in routine clinical life, the value of an openness to wonder and to the sense of wonder. Key to this is the identity of the central ethical challenges facing most clinicians, which is not the high-tech drama of the popular conceptions of medical ethics but, rather, the routine of patients’ undramatic but unremitting demands for the clinician’s time and respectful attention. Wonder (conceived as an intense and transfiguring attentiveness) is a ubiquitous ethical source, an alternative to the more familiar respect for rational autonomy, a source of renewal galvanizing diagnostic imagination, and a timely recalling of the embodied agency of both patient and clinician.



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Citations of this work

Cultivating quality awareness in corona times.Guus Timmerman, Andries Baart & Jan den Bakker - 2021 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 24 (2):189-204.
Against Wonder.W. P. Małecki - 2020 - Studia Philosophica Wratislaviensia 15 (2):45-57.
Philosophical Acts of Wonder in Bioethics.Alexander Zhang - 2024 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 49 (3):221-232.
Wonder and the Patient.H. M. Evans - 2015 - Journal of Medical Humanities 36 (1):47-58.

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References found in this work

Principles of biomedical ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1994 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by James F. Childress.
Upheavals of Thought. The Intelligence of Emotions.Martha C. Nussbaum - 2003 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 65 (1):174-175.
Précis of Upheavals of Thought.Martha C. Nussbaum - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (2):443-449.

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