Philosophy of medical practice: A discursive approach


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In spite of the seminal work A Philosophical Basis of Medical Practice, the debate on the task and goals of philosophy of medicine still continues. From an European perspective it is argued that the main topics dealt with by Pellegrino and Thomasma are still particularly relevant to medical practice as a healing practice, while expressing the need for a philosophy of medicine. Medical practice is a discursive practice which is highly influenced by other discursive practices like science, law and economics. Philosophical analysis of those influences is needed to discern their effect on the goals of medicine and on the ways in which the self-image of man may be changed. The nature of medical practice and discourse itself makes it necessary to include different philosophical disciplines, like philosophy of science, of law, ethics, and epistemology. Possible scenario's of euthanasia and the human genome project in the USA and Europe are used to exemplify how philosopy of medicine can contribute to a realistic understanding of the problems which are related to the goals of medicine and health care.
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