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The desired moral attitude of the physician: (I) Empathy
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Health and Society. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Local Health Care Services in the West of Östergötland, Department of Psychiatry and Habilitation.
2012 (English)In: Medicine, Health care and Philosophy, ISSN 1386-7423, E-ISSN 1572-8633, Vol. 15, no 2, 103-113 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In professional medical ethics, the physician traditionally is obliged to fulfil specific duties as well as to embody a responsible and trustworthy personality. In the public discussion, different concepts are suggested to describe the desired underlying attitude of physicians. In this article, one of them—empathy—is presented in an interpretation that is meant to depicture (together with the two additional concepts compassion and care) this attitude. Therefore empathy in the clinical context is defined as the adequate understanding of the inner processes of the patient concerning his health-related problems. Adequacy is scrutinized on behalf of the emotional and subjective involvement of he physician, and on the necessary dependence on medical—moral—goals. In the present interpretation, empathy alone is no guarantee of the right moral attitude, but a necessary instrumental skill in order to perceive and treat a patient as an individual person. The concepts of compassion and care that will be discussed in two forthcoming articles are necessary parts to describe the desired moral attitude of the physician more completely.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 2012. Vol. 15, no 2, 103-113 p.
Keyword [en]
Clinical Ethics, empathy, compassion, care, detached concern, virtue ethics, moral motivation, professionalism, moral attitude
National Category
Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-76111DOI: 10.1007/s11019-011-9366-4ISI: 000302380800002OAI: diva2:512409
Available from: 2012-03-27 Created: 2012-03-27 Last updated: 2013-03-21

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Gelhaus, Petra
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Health and SocietyFaculty of Health SciencesDepartment of Psychiatry and Habilitation
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ReferencesLink to record
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