The anthropological tradition in the philosophy of medicine

The tradition of anthropological medicine in philosophy of medicine is analyzed in relation to the earlier interest in epistemological issues in medicine around the turn of the century as well as to the current interest in medical ethics. It is argued that there is a continuity between epistemological, anthropological and ethical approaches in philosophy of medicine. Three basic ideas of anthropologically-oriented medicine are discussed: the rejection of Cartesian dualism, the notion of medicine as science of the human person, and the necessity of a comprehensive understanding of disease. Next, it is discussed why the anthropological movement has been superseded by the increasing interest in medical ethics. It is concluded that the present-day moral issues cannot be interpreted and resolved without clarification of the underlying anthropological images.
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