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Galen, Asklepion, the Socratic Roots of Healing [Seminar 5]

·2 mins·

Discussion questions for seminar, as developed by our resident group leaders for this session

  1. How do you employ hermeneutic phenomenology in your practice? How do you think it helps you be a better doctor? 
  2. Phenomenology is presented as a partner to rational, objective medicine. How can we utilize phenomenology in cases where the illness is entirely subjective (e.g. pain syndromes) or may be hard for some physicians to relate to (e.g. functional or psychiatric disorders)? 
  3. Leder writes of four “textual forms” (experiential, narrative, physical, and instrumental) in the medical diagnostic process. Extrapolating from his X-ray example, do you believe the experiential (patient’s voice) text will become lost from medicine as technology advances? In our diagnostic approach of closed, leading questions to fit “patients into boxes,” do you agree with his statement that modern medicine is already doing this?
  4. In conjunction with our medical expertise, in what ways can we integrate the expertise of experience, both of ourselves or our patients, into our own practice?
  5. A challenge to the hermeneutical approach is the worsening issue in medicine of workload, efficiency, and time. How can we as physicians best respect these two separate values?
  6. Cutting through the allegory of Asklepian ideals in Socrates’ death is the fact that his altruistic act is suicide. To what extent does being the ideal physician require self-sacrifice, and to what extent is this either inherent or alterable?


“Socrates’s Last Words to the Physician Asklepios: An Ancient Call for a Healing Ethos in Civic Life” Cureus
"“Clinical Interpretation: The Hermeneutics of Medicine” Theoretical Medicine 11:9-24, (1990).
“Phenomenology and its relevance to medical humanities"
“When I say … hermeneutic phenomenology”