Hermeneutics of medicine in the wake of Gadamer: The issue of phronesis

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 24 (5):407-431 (2003)
Abstract
The relevance of the Aristotelian concept ofphronesis – practical wisdom – for medicine and medical ethics has been much debated during the last two decades. This paper attempts to show how Aristotle’s practical philosophy was of central importance toHans-Georg Gadamer and to the development of his philosophical hermeneutics, and how,accordingly, the concept of phronesiswill be central to a Gadamerian hermeneutics of medicine. If medical practice is conceived of as an interpretative meeting between doctor and patient with the aim of restoring the health of the latter, then phronesis is the mark of the good physician, who through interpretation comes to know the best thing todo for this particular patient at this particular time. The potential fruitfulness of this hermeneutical appropriation of phronesis for the field of medical ethics is also discussed. The concept can be (and has been) used in critiques of the conceptualization of bioethics as the application of principle-based theory to clinical situations, since Aristotle’s point is exactly that problems of praxis cannot be approached in this way. It can also point theway for alternative forms of medical ethics, such as virtue ethics or a phenomenological andhermeneutical ethics. The latter alternative would have to address the phenomena of healthand the good life as issues for medical practice. It would also have to map out in detail the terrain of the medical meeting and the acts of interpretation through which phronesis is exercised.
Keywords Aristotle  Gadamer  Heidegger  medical hermeneutics  phenomenology of health and illness  phronesis  virtue ethics
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/B:META.0000006935.10835.b2
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,827
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Between Hype and Hope: What is Really at Stake with Personalized Medicine?Camille Abettan - 2016 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 19 (3):423-430.
Professional Responsibility, Misconduct and Practical Reason.Chris Clark - 2007 - Ethics and Social Welfare 1 (1):56-75.
A Heideggerian Defense of Therapeutic Cloning.Fredrik Svenaeus - 2007 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 28 (1):31-62.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
109 ( #49,815 of 2,210,107 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #222,637 of 2,210,107 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature