Literature, Philosophy, and Medical Ethics: Let the Dialogue Go On
Hawkins, Anne Hunsaker
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 1996 Jun; 21(3): 341-354.
This is a reply to Dan Clouser's philosophical commentary on the essays in this issue. Important assumptions that condition his perspective on the essays are identified and analyzed. Attention is drawn to his unhistorical emphasis on the exclusive importance of philosophy in ethical thought, and his resulting insistence that any discipline wishing to contribute to biomedical discourse must adopt the assumptions and methodologies of philosophy. Clouser's "three tenets" are examined, and then the question of what literature, considered in terms of its own aims and methodologies, has to offer to medical ethics. Genuine dialogue about medical ethics between philosophers and literary scholars is both desirable and important, but becomes possible only if the methods and insights of each discipline are honored in the pursuit of the overall goals they hold in common.
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