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An Heideggerian critique of evidence-based medicine

Lynne Bowyer, Brian Walsh


Evidence-based medicine is thought to be the gold-standard of biomedical practice, providing a universal approach to treating illness. However, this paper argues that it is an approach that distorts both the nature of health and illness and the healing relationship between the clinician and her patient. Engaging with the work of Martin Heidegger we argue that the framework of EBM has arisen out of an instrumental or calculative thinking that conceals other ways of understanding a situation. By imposing a certain framework of interpretation, instrumental thinking blocks off access to any genuine understanding, distorting our engagement with the particularity of health and illness.  


Heidegger, evidence-based medicine, Being, interpretation, hermeneutic-phenomenology, therapeutic relationships

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