Towards an Empirically Informed Account of Phronesis in Medicine

Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 59 (3):337-350 (2016)
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In medical ethics, a large body of work exists on the virtues that enable good medical practice. Medical virtue ethics singles out a number of virtues of the good doctor for attention; among others, these include empathy, care, truthfulness, and justice. According to medical ethicists like Pellegrino and Thomasma, however, phronesis, or “practical wisdom,” occupies a special place among these virtues. For Pellegrino and Thomasma, phronesis is “indispensable” to good medical practice, because it coordinates all the different moral virtues that the doctor must bring to ethical decisions as part of wise moral action....



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