Ethics and the Metaphysics of Medicine: Reflections on Health and Beneficence

MIT Press (2004)

Abstract

Definitions of health and disease are of more than theoretical interest. Understanding what it means to be healthy has implications for choices in medical treatment, for ethically sound informed consent, and for accurate assessment of policies or programs. This deeper understanding can help us create more effective public policy for health and medicine. It is notable that such contentious legal initiatives as the Americans with Disability Act and the Patients' Bill of Rights fail to define adequately the medical terms on which their effectiveness depends. In Ethics and the Metaphysics of Medicine, Kenneth Richman develops an "embedded instrumentalist" theory of health and applies it to practical problems in health care and medicine, addressing topics that range from the philosophy of science to knee surgery."Embedded instrumentalist" theories hold that health is a match between one's goals and one's ability to reach those goals, and that the relevant goals may vary from individual to individual. This captures the normative implications of the term health while avoiding problematic relativism. Richman's embedded instrumentalism differs from other theories of health in drawing a distinction between the health of individuals as biological organisms and the health of individuals as moral agents. This distinction illuminates many difficulties in patient-provider communication and helps us understand conflicts between promoting health and promoting ethically permissible behavior. After exploring, expanding, and defending this theory in the first part of the book, Richman examines its ethical implications, discussing such concerns as the connection between medical beneficence and respect for autonomy, patient-provider communication, living wills, and clinical education

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,743

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2014-02-06

Downloads
32 (#361,251)

6 months
2 (#258,534)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Kenneth A. Richman
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

References found in this work

Illness as Failure: Blaming Patients.Richard Gunderman - 2000 - Hastings Center Report 30 (4):7-11.

Add more references

Citations of this work

Concepts of Disease and Health.Dominic Murphy - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Rethinking Health: Healthy or Healthier Than?S. Andrew Schroeder - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):131-159.
Health and Well-Being.Jason Raibley - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (2):469-489.
Is There Unity Within the Discipline?Roger A. Newham - 2012 - Nursing Philosophy 13 (3):214-223.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Review of Ethics in Mental Health Research by James M. DuBois. [REVIEW]Ronald Pies - 2008 - Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 3:11-.
Autonomy and Beneficence in an Information Age.Robert M. Sade - 2001 - Health Care Analysis 9 (3):247-254.
Beneficence, Justice, and Health Care.J. Paul Kelleher - 2014 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 24 (1):27-49.
Just Health Care : Is Beneficence Enough?Leonard M. Fleck - 1989 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 10 (2).
Between Beneficence and Justice: The Ethics of Stewardship in Medicine.L. A. Jansen - 2013 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 38 (1):50-63.
Reflections on Health Law and Ethics.A. M. Capron - 1990 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 18 (1-2):15-19.
Health Care Reform: What History Doesn’T Teach.Nancy S. Jecker - 2005 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 26 (4):277-305.
Medicine as Metaphor in Plato.Joel Warren Lidz - 1995 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 20 (5):527-541.