Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 41–49 | Cite as

Hope for health and health care

Scientific Contribution

Abstract

Virtually all activities of health care are motivated at some level by hope. Patients hope for a cure; for relief from pain; for a return home. Physicians hope to prevent illness in their patients; to make the correct diagnosis when illness presents itself; that their prescribed treatments will be effective. Researchers hope to learn more about the causes of illness; to discover new and more effective treatments; to understand how treatments work. Ultimately, all who work in health care hope to offer their patients hope. In this paper, I offer a brief analysis of hope, considering the definitions of Hobbes, Locke, Hume and Thomas Aquinas. I then differentiate shallow and deep hope and show how hope in health care can remain shallow. Next, I explore what a philosophy of deep hope in health care might look like, drawing important points from Ernst Bloch and Gabriel Marcel. Finally, I suggest some implications of this philosophy of hope for patients, physicians, and researchers.

Keywords

Hope Health care Medicine Philosophy Ernst Bloch Gabriel Marcel Thomas Aquinas 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyCollege of the Holy CrossWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA

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