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Philosophy - Epistemology & Philosophy of Science | The Virtuous Physician - The Role of Virtue in Medicine

The Virtuous Physician

The Role of Virtue in Medicine

Series: Philosophy and Medicine, Vol. 114

Marcum, James A.

2012, XIV, 242 p.

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  • Discusses the philosophical issues surrounding the notion of virtue in the practice of clinical medicine
  • Addresses the crises of care and professionalism in modern medicine through the notion of virtuous physician
  • Provides a comprehensive analysis of the notion of virtuous physician, in terms of the analytic and phenomenologic philosophical traditions
  • Illustrates the application of the notion of virtuous physician to clinical practice, with two case studies from the medical literature
  • Explores pedagogical issues surrounding the teaching of virtue in the medical curriculum

Although modern medicine enjoys unprecedented success in providing excellent technical care, many patients are dissatisfied with the poor quality of care or the unprofessional manner in which physicians sometimes deliver it. Recently, this patient dissatisfaction has led to quality-of-care and professionalism crises in medicine.  

In this book, the author proposes a notion of virtuous physician to address these crises. He discusses the nature of the two crises and efforts by the medical profession to resolve them and then he briefly introduces the notion of virtuous physician and outlines its basic features. Further, virtue theory is discussed, along with virtue ethics and virtue epistemology, and specific virtues, especially as they relate to medicine. 

The author also explores the ontological priority of caring as the metaphysical virtue for grounding the notion of virtuous physician, and two essential ontic virtues—care and competence. In addition to this, he examines the transformation of competence into prudent wisdom and care into personal radical love to forge the compound virtue of prudent love, which is sufficient for defining the virtuous physician. Lastly, two clinical case stories are reconstructed which illustrate the various virtues associated with medical practice, and it is discussed how the notion of virtuous physician addresses the quality-of-care and professionalism crises. 

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Medical professionalism - Quality of healthcare - Virtue theory and epistemology - Virtue theory and ethics - Virtuous physician - medical education - medicine caring and uncaring - morality and medicine - ontological priority of caring - patient-physician relationship - physician and medicine crises - physician rules and duties - physician vices - physician virtues - relational ethics

Related subjects » Biomedical Sciences - Education & Language - Epistemology & Philosophy of Science - Life Sciences - Medicine

Table of contents 

Acknowledgments   
Preface    
1. Medicine’s crises 
2. Virtue theory, ethics, and epistemology  
3. Virtues and vices 
4. On caring and uncaring 
5. On prudent love and imprudent lovelessness 
6. Medical stories 
7. The virtuous physician and medicine’s crises  
8. Figures
References  
Notes

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