Advertisement

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 129–137 | Cite as

The nature of epistemic virtues in the practice of medicine

  • Shahram Ahmadi Nasab EmranEmail author
Scientific Contribution

Abstract

There is an assumption in virtue epistemology that epistemic virtues are the same in different times and places. In this paper, however, I examine this assumption in the practice of medicine as a paradigm example. I identify two different paradigms of medical practice, one before and the other after the rise of bioethics in 1960s. I discuss the socially defined role and function of physicians and the epistemic goals of medical practice in these two periods to see how these elements affect the necessary epistemic virtues for physicians. I conclude that epistemic virtues of medical practice differ in these two periods according to the differing epistemic goals and the socially defined function of physicians. In the end, I respond to the possible objections to my thesis based on the distinction between skill and virtue.

Keywords

Epistemic/intellectual virtue Practice of medicine Bioethics Epistemic goal Skill 

References

  1. Rothman, D.J. 1991. Strangers at the bedside: A history of how law and bioethics transformed medical decision making. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  2. Callahan, D. 1990. Religion and the secularization of bioethics. Hastings Center Report 20(4): 2–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Jonsen, A.R. 1998. The birth of bioethics. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Rothman, D.J. 2001. The origins and consequences of patient autonomy: A 25-year retrospective. Health Care Analysis 9: 255–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Zagzebski, L.T. 1996. Virtues of the mind: An inquiry into the nature of virtue and the ethical foundations of knowledge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Magner, L.N. 2005. A history of medicine. Boca Raton: Taylor and Francis Group.Google Scholar
  7. Carrick, P. 1985. Medical ethics in antiquity: Philosophical perspectives on abortion and euthanasia. Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing Company.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Adams, F. 1894. The genuine works of hippocrates. London: Sydenham Society.Google Scholar
  9. Demaitre, L.E. 2003. The art and science of prognostication in early university medicine. Bulletin of the History of Medicine 77(4): 765–788.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Sassower, R., and M.A. Grodin. 1987. Scientific uncertainty and medical responsibility. Theoretical Medicine 8(2): 221–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. McLean, S. 2010. Autonomy, consent, and the law. New York: Routledge-Cavendish.Google Scholar
  12. MacIntyre, A. 1976. Toward a theory of medical fallibility. The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 1(1): 51–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Zagzebski, L.T. 2001. Recovering understanding. In Knowledge, truth and duty: Essays on epistemic justification, responsibility, and virtue, ed. Mattias Steup. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Roberts, C.R., and W.J. Wood. 2007. Intellectual virtues: An essay in regulative epistemology. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics, Saint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations