The end of an argument or discussion should be, not victory, but enlightenment

Joseph Joubert (1754 - 1824)


Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind and language. The Ancient Greek word ‘philosophia’ and the symbol being φ, literally means, “love of wisdom” or “friend of wisdom. Philosophy has been divided into many sub-fields, the major topics being epistemology, logic, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics

The philosophy of healthcare however is the study of the ethics, processes, and people, which constitute the maintenance of health for human beings.

The philosophy of healthcare is primarily concerned with the following elemental questions:

  • Who requires and/or deserves healthcare? Is healthcare a fundamental right of all people?
  • What should be the basis for calculating the cost of treatments, hospital stays, drugs, etc.?
  • How can healthcare best be administered to the greatest number of people?
  • What are the necessary parameters for clinical trials and quality assurance?
  • Who, if anybody, can decide when a patient is in need of “comfort measures” (euthanasia)?

The many links opposite will invite you to explore Philosophy in general. The next section Medical Ethics’ will introduce you more to applied moral philosophy in healthcare.

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