Defining medical humanism beyond empathy

Archives de Philosophie 4 (84) (2020)
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Empathy is often described as a virtue which that could help in making medicine more humanistic. This paper argues that there are two limits to this thesis. First, it is unclear whether a lack of empathy can be attributed to the biomedical education. Second, empathy itself is not without issues, and another concept, compassion, can be put forward instead. Humanism based on compassion is more minimalist, but integrated with an approach focused on health systems, it makes humanism more tangible and radical.

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Juliette Ferry-Danini
Université Catholique de Louvain


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