Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 17–23

Gadamerian dialogue in the patient-professional interaction

  • Vilhjálmur Árnason

DOI: 10.1023/A:1009908132170

Cite this article as:
Árnason, V. Med Health Care Philos (2000) 3: 17. doi:10.1023/A:1009908132170


In his seminal work, Truth and Method, theGerman philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer distinguishesbetween three types of what he calls the experience ofthe `Thou'. In this paper, Gadamer's analysis of thisexperience is explained in terms of his philosophicalhermeneutics and brought to bear upon thepatient-professional relationship. It is argued thatwhile Gadamer's analysis implies fruitful insights fora dialogical account of the patient-professionalinteraction, it harbours elements which are conduciveto paternalistic practice of medicine. The strongattribution of value to tradition and the respect forauthority emphasized in his theory result in a lack ofsensitivity for individual self-determination which isneeded for a successful account of thepatient-professional relationship.

dialogue Gadamer's hermeneutics paternalism patient autonomy prejudices professional-patient interaction 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vilhjálmur Árnason
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of IcelandReykjavikIceland

Personalised recommendations