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Icons of disease: A philosophical inquiry into the semantics, phenomenology and ontology of the clinical conceptions of disease
Linköping University, The Tema Institute. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
1987 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present study endeavers to answer the question: What are diseases in the clinical encounter between physician and patient? The answer supplied - actually, exposed and explicated throughout the study - is conceived in philosophical terms, engaging semantics, phenomenology, ethics and ontology.

The methodological orientation of the study is humanistic and hermeneutical - besides the 'method' of philosophical discourse. Basic issues concerning the interpretation and understanding of texts, as well as of the knowing and acting subject in relation to the world, are tackled. Selected passages from a standard textbook of medicine are subjected to interpretive reading in order that the conceptions of disease of the clinical encounter emerge. A hermeneutic framework for the clinical encounter is formulated, accounting for clinical judgment as the physician's interpretive 'reading' of his patients.

To put it shortly, the upshot of the study, and the answer to the questionhere initially posed, may be formulated thus: Diseases in the most basic or originary sense of the clinical encounter are action-oriented, pluridimensional conceptions, wedded to clinical judgment and action. These conceptions are the Icons of Disease.

The implications for medical ethics of the theory of icons of diseasepropounded are also considered. The action-orientations and normativityinherent in the icons prove to be dependent on a presupposed ethicalmotive force, viz., a feeling for the integrity of the human organism. However, the icons provide only prima fade valid, general directions for clinical action; right action all-things-considered rests with the ethical discrimination of individual physicians attending to the real thing of the clinical encounter.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 1987. , 241 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 14
Keyword [en]
Conceptions of disease, Clinical encounter, Life-world, Symbolic mediation, Philosophy of medicine, Medical ethics, Hermeneutics, Human organism
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-35334Local ID: 26369ISBN: 91-7870-220-8OAI: diva2:256182
Public defence
1987-11-19, Wallenbergssalen, Östergötlands länsmuseum, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2012-05-28Bibliographically approved

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Sundström, Per
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The Tema InstituteFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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