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Hardcover | Out of Print | 179 pp. | 5.9 x 8.9 in | January 1999 | ISBN: 9780262201148
Paperback | $30.00 X | £24.95 | 179 pp. | 5.9 x 8.9 in | February 2000 | ISBN: 9780262700726
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Confessions of a Medicine Man

An Essay in Popular Philosophy


"My mission is to analyze medicines ethical structure. I do so as both a physician and a philosopher. Of my two voices, it is the latter that is informed by the former.... As a physician I have sought professional solutions to the frustrations of fighting a medical system that has become increasingly hostile to my standards of care for my patients; as a philosopher I will explore here the ethical issues I believe are the root of our predicament."— from the introduction.

In Confessions of a Medicine Man, Alfred Tauber probes the ethical structure of contemporary medicine in an argument accessible to lay readers, healthcare professionals, and ethicists alike. Through personal anecdote, historical narrative, and philosophical discussion, Tauber composes a moral portrait of the doctor-patient relationship. In a time when discussion has focused on market forces, he seeks to show how our basic conceptions of health, the body, and most fundamentally our very notion of selfhood frame our experience of illness. Arguing against an ethics based on a presumed autonomy, Tauber presents a relational ethic that must orient medical science and a voracious industry back to their primary moral responsibility: the empathetic response to the call of the ill.

About the Author

Alfred I. Tauber is the Zoltan Kohn Professor of Medicine, Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University.


“An intelligent and thorough philosophical analysis of the medical care morass, this does no less than clear away superficial and superfluous arguments, leaving a few essential issues and a direction for reform.”
Kirkus Reviews
“"Tauber's is a welcomed voice, almost a lyrical cry in the wilderness (as Santayana might have said) for a genuine, caring approach to understanding the physician-patient relationship."”
Herman J. Saatkamp Jr., Department of Philosophy, Texas A&M University
“Tauber looks deep into the relationship between physician and patient. A wise, humane and important work.”
Jonathan Cole, Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, University of Southampton