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January 08 , 2008

The Hermeneutics of Medicine and the Phenomenology of Health

Steps Towards a Philosophy of Medical Practice


Fredrik Svenaeus' book is a delight to read. Not only does he exhibit keen understanding of a wide range of topics and figures in both medicine and philosophy, but he manages to bring them together in an innovative manner that convincingly demonstrates how deeply these two significant fields can be and, in the end, must be mutually enlightening. Medicine, Svenaeus suggests, reveals deep but rarely explicit themes whose proper comprehension invites a careful phenomenological and hermeneutical explication. Certain philosophical approaches, on the other hand - specifically, Heidegger's phenomenology and Gadamer's hermeneutics - are shown to have a hitherto unrealized potential for making sense of those themes long buried within Western medicine.
Richard M. Zaner, Ann Geddes Stahlman Professor of Medical Ethics, Vanderbilt University

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