Nursing Philosophy 1 (1 Online first) (2021)

Nathan Eric Dickman
University of The Ozarks
In this paper, I bring together Jewish and Buddhist philosophical resources to develop a notion of radical responsibility that can confront a complicity within nursing and health care between empathy and (neo)liberal white supremacist hegemony. My inspiration comes from Angela Davis's call for building coalitions to advance struggles for peace and justice. I proceed as follows. First, I note ways phenomenology clarifies empathy's seeming foundational role in nursing care, and how such a formulation can be complicit with assumptions about private individualism. Second, I turn to the Jewish philosophies of Martin Buber and Emmanuel Levinas, and their advocacy for a kind of responsibility that precedes the constitution of individuality as this can provide a resource for action and practice circumventing liberal influenced empathy. I note critical reservations about direct and practical application of Levinasian ethics in nursing care, and turn to engaged Buddhist philosophies of interdependence—such as in Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama—as a corrective. Third, I conclude by indicating ways interreligious radical responsibility can reorient us toward housekeeping habits of character and away from exceptional crisis management, noting specific examples and actions in health care, nursing education and nursing scholarship.
Keywords Buddhist thought  Jewish thought  empathy  individualism  responsibility
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