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Perspectives on the Philosophy of Medicine

Perspectives on the Philosophy of Medicine

Over a quarter of a century ago, ethicist Arthur Caplan questioned the existence of a philosophy of medicine, but advocated its importance and urged its development.  While Caplan’s query has been debated, there is little dissent as to the importance of core philosophical grounds of and for medicine, and to their integral place within medical education, training and practice.  Historically, we might look at the Hippocratic tradition in all its complex ramifications, at the work of European scholars of the late 1800s and early to mid-1900s, and perhaps even at the insights of William Osler when searching for a basis of such a philosophy, more specifically its definition and normative implications.  A contemporary view would, of course, include the work of Christopher Boorse, H. Tristram Engelhardt, Keekok Lee, Edmund Pellegrino, Kazem Sadegh-Zadeh, Alfred Tauber, and David Thomasma, among others.

A philosophy of medicine affords multiple conceptualizations, constructs, insights and affirmations. Its scope could be construed as broad, to allow philosophical reflection upon medicine, a focus upon philosophical issues in medicine, and engagements of philosophical methods to address questions of medical ethics and social influence.  More narrowly, a philosophy of medicine might be reduced to either the epistemological dimensions of the medical enterprise or to its more general anthropological premises. Perspectives on what a philosophy of medicine is and what it does may differ, and we believe these views are vital to its continued development and sustenance. 

It is in in this spirit that we announce this thematic section on Perspectives on the Philosophy of Medicine, which will run until 30th June 2019. We invite and welcome papers providing views, insights and speculation on the structure and content, education and training, methods and approaches, and questions, issues and problems of a philosophy of medicine. This thematic is supported, in part, by funding from the Austin and Ann O’Malley Chair in Bioethics of Loyola Marymount University, USA.  

Edited by:

Thomas Bohrer MD, Klinikum Kulmbach, Germany
Roberto Dell’Oro PhD, Loyola Marymount University, USA
James Giordano PhD, Georgetown University Medical Center, USA

Deadline for submission

This Call for Papers is open from now until 31 December, 2018. Submitted papers will be reviewed in a timely manner and published directly after acceptance (i.e. without waiting for the accomplishment of all other contributions). Thanks to the Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine open access policy, the articles published in this thematic series will have a wide, global audience.

Submission instructions

Before submitting your manuscript, please ensure you have carefully read the submission guidelines for Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine. The complete manuscript should be submitted through the journal submission system. To ensure that you submit to the correct thematic series please select the appropriate section in the drop-down menu upon submission. In addition, indicate within your cover letter that you wish your manuscript to be considered as part of the thematic series on series title. All submissions will undergo rigorous peer review, and accepted articles will be published within the journal as a collection.

  1. Understanding representations of disease in various art genres provides insights into how patients and health care providers view the diseases. It can also be used to enhance patient care and stimulate patient...

    Authors: Ad A. Kaptein, Pim B. van der Meer, Barend W. Florijn, Alexander D. Hilt, Michael Murray and Martin J. Schalij
    Citation: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 2020 15:2
  2. Motivation is a crucial and widespread theme within medicine. From clinical to surgical scenarios, acquiescence in taking a pill or coming to a consultation is imperative for medical treatment to thrive. The “...

    Authors: Leonardo Augusto Negreiros Parente Capela Sampaio and José Ricardo de Carvalho Mesquita Ayres
    Citation: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 2019 14:14
  3. Healthcare is permeated by phenomena of vulnerability and their ethical significance. Nonetheless, application of this concept in healthcare ethics today is largely confined to clinical research. Approaches th...

    Authors: Joachim Boldt
    Citation: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 2019 14:6
  4. In an everyday private practice setting, regularly also existential topics will emerge from doctor-patient encounters. These are often questions of coping with life and lifestyle. To enable a thorough discussi...

    Authors: Gernot Rüter and Thomas Fröhlich
    Citation: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 2019 14:2
  5. Use of humanities content in American medical education has been debated for well over 60 years. While many respected scholars and medical educators have purported the value of humanities content in medical tr...

    Authors: Mary E. Kollmer Horton
    Citation: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 2019 14:1
  6. Neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero proposed the HEAVEN procedure – i.e. head anastomosis venture – several years ago, and has recently received approval from the relevant regulatory bodies to perform this body-head tra...

    Authors: Zaev D. Suskin and James J. Giordano
    Citation: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 2018 13:10
  7. Edmund Pellegrino lamented that the cultural climate of the industrialized West had called the fundamental means and ends of medicine into question, leading him to propose a renewed reflection on medicine’s ba...

    Authors: Joel Michael Reynolds
    Citation: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 2018 13:8
  8. As suggested by Shook and Giordano, understanding and therefore addressing the urgent international governance issues around globalizing bio-medical/technology research and applications is limited by the perce...

    Authors: David S. Basser
    Citation: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 2017 12:9