Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 15 (2):103-113 (2012)

Abstract
In professional medical ethics, the physician traditionally is obliged to fulfil specific duties as well as to embody a responsible and trustworthy personality. In the public discussion, different concepts are suggested to describe the desired underlying attitude of physicians. In this article, one of them—empathy—is presented in an interpretation that is meant to depicture (together with the two additional concepts compassion and care) this attitude. Therefore empathy in the clinical context is defined as the adequate understanding of the inner processes of the patient concerning his health-related problems. Adequacy is scrutinized on behalf of the emotional and subjective involvement of he physician, and on the necessary dependence on medical—moral—goals. In the present interpretation, empathy alone is no guarantee of the right moral attitude, but a necessary instrumental skill in order to perceive and treat a patient as an individual person. The concepts of compassion and care that will be discussed in two forthcoming articles are necessary parts to describe the desired moral attitude of the physician more completely
Keywords Clinical ethics  Empathy  Compassion  Care  Detached concern  Virtue ethics  Moral motivation  Professionalism  Moral attitude
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DOI 10.1007/s11019-011-9366-4
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References found in this work BETA

After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1983 - University of Notre Dame Press.
Principia Ethica.George Edward Moore - 1903 - Dover Publications.
Nicomachean Ethics.H. Aristotle & Rackham - 1968 - Harvard University Press.
The Theory of Moral Sentiments.Adam Smith - 1759 - Dover Publications.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Relationship Between Empathy and Sympathy in Good Health Care.Fredrik Svenaeus - 2015 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 18 (2):267-277.
Clinical Sympathy: The Important Role of Affectivity in Clinical Practice.Carter Hardy - 2019 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 22 (4):499-513.

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