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Dualism and Its Discontents II: Philosophical Tinctures 

Dualism and Its Discontents II: Philosophical Tinctures
Chapter:
Dualism and Its Discontents II: Philosophical Tinctures
Author(s):

Craig Irvine

and Danielle Spencer

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199360192.003.0005
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date: 22 January 2022

Part II of II: This chapter explores philosophical responses to Cartesian dualism—notably Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s elaboration of phenomenology—and its relevance to medicine. With close reading of Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception, phenomenology’s attentiveness to lived experience and to embodiment is described. Next, discussion of the work of philosophers, clinicians, ethicists and patients—including Havi Carel, S. Kay Toombs, Richard Baron, Edmund Pellegrino, Richard Zaner, and Fredrik Svenaeus—demonstrates the influence of phenomenological perspectives in healthcare, addressing the dissociation and alienation often experienced by clinicians and patients alike. Counter-examples to the philosophical narrative presented here are then offered, demonstrating the rich complexity of philosophical enquiry. The chapter closes with a brief discussion of the poem “Soul” by David Ferry, which offers a means of approaching the age-old issue of the relationship between body, mind, and spirit. Thus the authors argue that philosophical understanding—particularly in combination with literature—offers particular insight into the challenges and possibilities of healthcare today.

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