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7 October 2021 - 7 October 2021
5:00PM - 7:00PM
St. Chad's College, Durham University
Title: What is the Aim of Medicine?
Abstract: Recent debates indicate that the scope and societal role of medicine is fated to be altered in the twenty-first century. The debates raise fundamental questions about the aim of medicine and the main task of the talk is to contribute to clarifying this issue. I start by examining an initially plausible proposal according to which medicine is pathocentric, aiming to restore the health of individuals by curing disease. Discussing and rejecting this as well as competing proposals, I present and defend the Autonomy Thesis, which holds that medicine is not pathocentric, but sanocentric, with the final aim to enhance autonomy. I close by considering the objection that the Autonomy Thesis is overly permissive and allows many highly controversial procedures as legitimate parts of medicine.
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