Med.Inter.Rev. 2015, 105, 186-189.

Why do we talk to the patient? – challenging medical
consultation from the point of view of modern philosophy


  1. Department of Thoracic Surgery, Bamberg General Hospital, Buger Str. 80, 96049 Bamberg/Germany.
  2. Department of Pulmonolgy, Center of Internal Medicine, University of Wuerzburg; Oberduerrbacherstr. 6,
    97080 Wuerzburg/Germany.
  3. Institute of Philosophy, University of Wuerzburg; Josef-Stangl-Place, Wuerzburg/Germany;

The medical consultation – the basis for the physician-patient relationship – is often nothing more than a brief medical history interview and receives no sufficient attention: Thus, the focus today is on providing brief information and obtaining the patient’s consent. In this paper we search for an independent approach to assessing the significance of the consultation for physicians. Today, philosophy recognizes two major approaches: modern anthropology as the science of human beings and media theory. If a physician does not “embed” the information, i.e. if he does not give it a meaning through transferring it onto the patient’s specific situation,
the physician consequently treats the person like a veterinarian would, that is only focusing on the biological organism and irrespective of his characteristic view of the world. Thus, and
provided that it is a therapeutical and conciliatory conversation, the consultation must primarily be “tailored to the addressee”. The information, the theoretical, purely topical content must be integrated into the patient’s actual life situation. This is of fundamental importance for patients safety.

Keywords: Medical consultation, philosophy in medicine, media theory, modern anthropology

Oryginal language: English

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