Confessions of a Medicine Man: An Essay in Popular Philosophy

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MIT Press, 2000 - Medical - 159 pages
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"My mission is to analyze medicines ethical structure. I do so as both a physician and a philosopher. Of my two voices, it is the latter that is informed by the former.... As a physician I have sought professional solutions to the frustrations of fighting a medical system that has become increasingly hostile to my standards of care for my patients; as a philosopher I will explore here the ethical issues I believe are the root of our predicament." -- from the introduction.

In Confessions of a Medicine Man, Alfred Tauber probes the ethical structure of contemporary medicine in an argument accessible to lay readers, healthcare professionals, and ethicists alike. Through personal anecdote, historical narrative, and philosophical discussion, Tauber composes a moral portrait of the doctor-patient relationship. In a time when discussion has focused on market forces, he seeks to show how our basic conceptions of health, the body, and most fundamentally our very notion of selfhood frame our experience of illness. Arguing against an ethics based on a presumed autonomy, Tauber presents a relational ethic that must orient medical science and a voracious industry back to their primary moral responsibility: the empathetic response to the call of the ill.

 

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Contents

Turmoil and Challenges
1
The Course of Autonomy
25
The Breakdown of Autonomy
49
The Call of the Other
71
Toward a New Medical Ethic
91
Metaphysical Musings
119
Epilogue
135
Bibliographic Notes
141
Index
151
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About the author (2000)

Alfred I. Tauber is the Zoltan Kohn Professor of Medicine, Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University.

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