Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 129–137

The nature of epistemic virtues in the practice of medicine

Scientific Contribution

DOI: 10.1007/s11019-014-9567-8

Cite this article as:
Ahmadi Nasab Emran, S. Med Health Care and Philos (2015) 18: 129. doi:10.1007/s11019-014-9567-8


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.


Epistemic/intellectual virtue Practice of medicine Bioethics Epistemic goal Skill 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

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

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