Diseases, patients and the epistemology of practice: mapping the borders of health, medicine and care

Loughlin, Michael ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2234-2146, Bluhm, Robyn, Fuller, Jonathan, Buetow, Stephen, Borgerson, Kirstin, Lewis, Benjamin R. and Kious, Brent M. (2015) Diseases, patients and the epistemology of practice: mapping the borders of health, medicine and care. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 21 (3). pp. 357-364. ISSN 1356-1294

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Last year saw the 20th anniversary edition of JECP, and in the introduction to the philosophy section of that landmark edition, we posed the question: apart from ethics, what is the role of philosophy ‘at the bedside’? The purpose of this question was not to downplay the
significance of ethics to clinical practice. Rather, we raised it as part of a broader argument to the effect that ethical questions – about what we should do in any given situation – are embedded within whole understandings of the situation, inseparable from our beliefs about what is the case (metaphysics), what it is that we feel we can claim to know (epistemology),
as well as the meaning we ascribe to different aspects of the situation or to our perception of it. Philosophy concerns fundamental questions: it is a discipline requiring us to examine the underlying assumptions we bring with us to our thinking about practical problems.
Traditional academic philosophers divide their discipline into distinct areas that typically include logic: questions about meaning, truth and validity; ontology: questions about the nature of reality, what exists; epistemology: concerning knowledge; and ethics: how we
should live and practice, the nature of value. Any credible attempt to analyse clinical reasoning will require us to think carefully about these types of question and the relationships between them, as they influence our thinking about specific situations and problems.
So, the answers to the question we posed, about the role of philosophy at the bedside, are numerous and diverse, and that diversity is illustrated in the contributions to this thematic edition.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1111/jep.12370
Subjects: Medicine and health
Depositing User: Michael Loughlin
Date Deposited: 15 May 2018 00:22
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 15:57
URI: https://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/4975

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