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J Eval Clin Pract. 2013 Jun;19(3):478-84. doi: 10.1111/jep.12043.

Metaphysics and medical education: taking holism seriously.

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1
School of Medicine, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. bruce.wilson@utas.edu.au

Abstract

Medical education is now suffused with concepts that have their source outside the traditional scientific and medical disciplines: concepts such as holism, connectedness and reflective practice. Teaching of these, and other problematic concepts such as medical uncertainty and error, has been defined more by the challenge they pose to the standard model rather than being informed by a strong positive understanding. This challenge typically involves a critical engagement with the idea of objectivity, which is rarely acknowledged as an inherently metaphysical critique. Consequently, these ideas prove to be difficult to teach well. I suggest that the lack of an integrating, positive narrative is the reason for teaching difficulty, and propose that what is needed is an explicit commitment to teach the metaphysics of medicine, with the concept of holism being the fulcrum on which the remaining concepts turn. An acknowledged metaphysical narrative will encompass the scientific realism that medical students typically bring to their tertiary education, and at the same time enable a bigger picture to be drawn that puts the newer and more problematic concepts into context.

PMID:
23692231
DOI:
10.1111/jep.12043
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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