Reframing health care: philosophy for medicine and human flourishing

Rupert Read, Phil Hutchinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Citations (Scopus)


An important insight of Bill Fulford’s work is that there is no such thing as “value-free” diagnosis. To characterise a person as having a particular illness is to make a value-laden claim, whether or not people reflect on what the values are that underlie the diagnosis. We agree with him on this point, but want to ground a view about the role of value-judgments in diagnosis in a broader conceptual framework—one which argues that there is no such thing as an approach to health care (including the science of medicine) that is “philosophy-free”. We explain and justify this claim before bringing out its significance to Fulford’s VBP project and his own underlying assumptions about the relationship between value, philosophy, science and practice.
Rather than ‘complement’ EBM with VBP, EBM should, we argue, be sublated. VBP should be dropped, and EBM could morph then into FOM: Flourishing-Oriented Medicine, our own proposed answer. No longer positivistic and scientistic, and more honestly ethical and political. With deliberative fora that, far from being mere tick-box exercises or amalgamations of individuals’ preferences, are actually likely to produce the best and most robust decisions. Decisions that are likelier to be compatible with both medical science and human flourishing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDebates in Values-Based Practice (VBP)
EditorsMichael Loughlin
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)978-1-107-03893-6
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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