, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 121-134

Beyond medical ethics: New directions for philosophy and medicine

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Abstract

A unique relationship exists between physicians and philosophers — one that expands on the constructive potential of the liaison between physicians and, for example, theologians, on the one hand, or, social workers on the other. This liaison should focus in the scientific aspects of medicine, not just the ethical aspects. Philosophers can provide physicians with a perspective on both the philosophy and the history of medicine through the ages — a sense of how medicine has adapted to the social cultural and ethical needs of each period. This perspective, while emphasizing medicine asscience, should not be limited to matters of methodology, or to criteria for distinguishing science from other intellectual pursuits, but should be concerned also with the history, sociology and politics of science. Both physicians and philosophers stand to gain from a strengthening of their active liaison now as never before; but most of all, the public will be the beneficiary.