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Wonder and the clinical encounter.

Evans, H.M. (2012) 'Wonder and the clinical encounter.', Theoretical medicine and bioethics., 33 (2). pp. 123-136.


In terms of intervening in embodied experience, medical treatment is wonder-ful in its ambition and its metaphysical presumption; yet wonder’s role in clinical medicine has received little philosophical attention. In this paper I propose the value, to doctors and others in routine clinical life, of an openness to wonder and to the sense of wonder. Key to this is the identity of the central ethical challenges for most clinicians, being not the high-tech drama of popular conceptions of medical ethics but rather the routine of patients’ undramatic but unremitting demands for the clinician’s time and respectful attention. Wonder (conceived as an intense and transfiguring attentiveness) offers: an alternative and ubiquitous ethical source in place of the more familiar respect for rational autonomy; a source of renewal galvanising diagnostic imagination; and a timely recalling of the embodied agency of both patient and clinician.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Wonder, Sense of wonder, Clinical encounter, Philosophy, Ethics, Imagination.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Record Created:03 Jul 2012 13:05
Last Modified:13 Aug 2015 10:14

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