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Confessions of a Medicine Man: an Essay in Popular Philosophy
  1. Matthew Clayton
  1. Department of Government Brunel University

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    Alfred I Tauber, Cambridge, Mass, The MIT Press, 1999, 159 + xviii pages, £17.50 (hb).

    Tauber's book outlines a philosophy of medicine that sees an ethos of caring as the central imperative of a doctor. Three broad claims are defended in the text. First, Tauber is sceptical of conceptions of medicine that treat physicians as primarily scientists or the agents of profit-makers or administrators. For such conceptions fail to consider the patient as a whole or his/her personalised suffering as demanding empathy.

    Second, he criticises conceptions of medical ethics that emphasise personal autonomy. After a brief account of how, he thinks, the ideal of autonomy was invented and developed in Western thought, Tauber questions the significance of autonomy in medicine. Because of …

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