Philosophy of medicine in the federal republic of germany (1945–1984)

The development of the philosophy of medicine in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1945 is presented in a thematic form. The first two decades were characterized by the evolution of an anthropological school of thought that aimed at relating physician and patient in a more personal and existential form than had hitherto been the case. In the last years, this tendency to demand deeper psychic and broader social involvement with medical problems had increased. Somatic disorders were considered to be fundamentally caused by socially induced mental stress. After a brief period during which the theme of organisms in general and phenomenologically grasped living-body of human beings in particular were discussed, there followed since the mid-seventies an essential preoccupation with the methodology and epistemology of medicine. According to this trend, medicine is to be analyzed in terms of the theory of action, with its conceptual and strategic orientation towards practice and not, as generally believed, towards the standards of scientific truth. The concepts of disease, diagnosis and therapy are therefore relative and their validity is dependent on time, persons and circumstances involved. Thus, the highest criteria of utility for medical actions cannot but be the affected patient and society.
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