The epistemically virtuous clinician

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 30 (3):249-265 (2009)
Today, modern Western medicine is facing a quality-of-care crisis that is undermining the patient–physician relationship. In this paper, a notion of the epistemically virtuous clinician is proposed in terms of both the reliabilist and responsibilist versions of virtue epistemology, in order to help address this crisis. To that end, a clinical case study from the literature is first reconstructed. The reliabilist intellectual virtues, including the perceptual and conceptual virtues, are then discussed and applied to the case study. Next, a similar method is employed to examine the responsibilist intellectual virtues, including curiosity, courage, honesty, and humility, and to apply them to the case study. To round out the discussion, the love of knowledge and both theoretical and practical wisdom are explored and applied to the case study. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of how the notion of an epistemically virtuous clinician addresses the quality-of-care crisis, in terms of the connection between ethical and intellectual virtues, and of the notion’s implications for medical education.
Keywords Clinical medicine  Epistemic agent  Intellectual virtues  Quality-of-care  Virtue epistemology
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DOI 10.1007/s11017-009-9109-1
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References found in this work BETA
Ernest Sosa (1991). Knowledge in Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lorraine Code (1987). Epistemic Responsibility. Published for Brown University Press by University Press of New England.

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Citations of this work BETA
Boudewijn de Bruin (2013). Epistemic Virtues in Business. Journal of Business Ethics 113 (4):583-595.
Mona Gupta & Ross Upshur (2012). Critical Thinking in Clinical Medicine: What is It? Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 18 (5):938-944.

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