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Why should physicians read?: Understanding clinical judgement and its relation to literary experience
Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Avdelningen för hälsa och miljö.
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Is literary experience of any practical relevance to the clinician? This is the overall question addressed by this investigation, which starts by tracing the historical roots of scientific medicine. These are found to be intimately linked to a form of rationality associated with the scientific revolution of the 17th century and with “modernity”. Medical practice, however, is dependent also on another form of rationality associated with what Stephen Toulmin calls “the epistemology of the biographical”. The very core of clinical medicine is shown to be the clinical encounter, an interpretive meeting where the illness experience is at the centre of attention. The physician can reach the goals of medicine only by developing clinical judgement. Clinical judgement is subjected to close analysis and is assumed to be intimately connected to the form of knowledge Aristotle called phronesis.

In order to explore how literature – drama, novels, poetry – may be related to clinical judgement, a view of literature is presented that emphasizes literature as an invitation to the reader, to be met responsibly and responsively. Literature carries a potential for a widened experience, for a more nuanced perception of reality – and this potential is suggested to be ethically relevant to the practice of medicine. The “narrative rationality” of a literary text constitutes a complement to the rationality pervading scientific medicine.

The final step in my analysis is a closer exploration of the potential of the literary text to contribute to the growth of clinical judgement, in relation to the challenges of everyday clinical work. Some of the conditions that may facilitate such growth are outlined, but it is also shown that full empirical evidence for the beneficial effects of reading on the clinician reader is beyond reach.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
University of Durham , 2010. , p. 372
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-6285ISBN: 978-91-7063-311-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-6285DiVA, id: diva2:345856
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Note
This is a PhD-thesis in Medical Humanities from Durham University.Available from: 2010-08-27 Created: 2010-08-27 Last updated: 2011-10-04Bibliographically approved

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Ahlzén, Rolf

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
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  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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