Rowman and Littlefield International

Existential Medicine

Essays on Health and Illness

Edited by Kevin Aho

6 Reviews

This book offers cutting edge research on the modifications and disruptions of bodily experience in the context of anxiety, depression, trauma, chronic illness, pain, and aging. It presents original contributions in applied phenomenology, biomedical ethics, and the use of medical technologies.

Hardback ISBN: 9781786604828 Release date: Apr 2018
£92.00 €112.00 $120.00
Paperback ISBN: 9781786604835 Release date: Apr 2018
£31.00 €34.95 $39.95
Ebook ISBN: 9781786604842 Release date: Apr 2018
£24.95 €34.95 $37.95

Series: New Heidegger Research

Pages: 294


Existential Medicine explores the recent impact that the philosophies of existentialism, phenomenology, and hermeneutics have had on the health care professions. A growing body of scholarship drawing primarily on the work of Martin Heidegger and other influential twentieth-century figures such as Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Hans-Georg Gadamer has shaped contemporary research in the fields of bioethics, narrative medicine, gerontology, enhancement medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy, and palliative care, among others. By regarding the human body as a decontextualized object, the prevailing paradigm of medical science often overlooks the body as it is lived. As a result, it fails to critically engage the experience of illness and the core questions of ‘what it means’ and ‘what it feels like’ to be ill. With work from emerging and renowned scholars in the field, this collection aims to shed light on these issues and the crucial need for clinicians to situate the experience of illness within the context of a patient’s life-world. To this end, Existential Medicine offers a valuable resource for philosophers and medical humanists, as well as health care practitioners.

Acknowledgments / Editor’s Introduction: Existential Medicine: Heidegger and the Lessons from Zollikon, Kevin Aho / Part I: New Currents in Existential Psychiatry / 1. The Cure for Existential Authenticity, Shaun Gallagher / 2. Emotional Disturbance, Trauma, and Authenticity: An Existential-Phenomenological Perspective, Robert Stolorow / 3. Beyond the Ontological Difference: Heidegger, Binswanger, and the Future of Existential Analysis, Anthony Fernandez / 4. Between Anxiety and Nostalgia, Dylan Trigg / Part II: Phenomenologies of Anxiety, Pain, and Death / 5. The World of Chronic Pain: A Dialogue, Martin Kusch and Matthew Ratcliffe / 6. On the Autós of Autonomous Decision-Making: Intercorporeality, Temporality and Enacted Normativities in Transplantation Medicine, Kristin Zeiler 7. Reclaiming Embodiment in Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms (MUPS), Jenny Slatman / 8. Heidegger, Curing Aging, and the Desirability of Immortality, Adam Buben / Part III: Ethics, Medicalization, and Technology / 9. Heidegger’s Philosophy of Technology and the Perils of Medicalization, Fredrik Svenaeus / 10. Breathlessness: From Bodily Symptom to Existential Experience, Tina Williams and Havi Carel / 11. Heideggerian Ethics and the Permissibility of Bio- and Nano-Medicine, Tara Kennedy / Part IV: Existential Health / 12. Losing the Measure of Health: Phenomenological Reflections on the Role of Techne in Health Care Today, Carolyn Culbertson / 13. Existential Medicine and the Intersubjective Body, John Russon and Kirsten Jacobson / 14. Health Like a Broken Hammer or The Strange Wish to Make Health Disappear, Nicole Piemonte and Ramsey Eric Ramsey / 15. What is it to “Age Well”? Re-visioning Later Life, Drew Leder

Kevin Aho is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Communication and Philosophy at Florida Gulf Coast University. He is the author of Existentialism: An Introduction (2014), Heidegger’s Neglect of the Body (2009), and co-author of Body Matters: A Phenomenology of Sickness, Illness, and Disease (2008).

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6 Reviews

Kevin Aho has brought together a unique and valuable collection of new essays by leading authorities in existential, phenomenological and hermeneutic approaches to medicine. This collection provides state-of-the-art work on such phenomena as anxiety, authenticity, aging, pain, medical ethics and the limits of medicalization. It is a must-read for anyone interested in what philosophy can contribute to the health sciences.

Charles Guignon, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of South Florida

This masterful collection of essays demonstrates the promise of Heidegger’s phenomenology for understanding the complex unity of lived, embodied, intercorporeal, affective, and hermeneutic components of pain and suffering. Spanning topics in existential psychiatry, phenomenologies of chronic pain and aging, medical technologies, health and illness, Existential Medicine is a must-read for health professionals and everyone else grappling with the vulnerabilities of the human condition.

Daniel O. Dahlstrom, Professor of Philosophy, Boston University

Existential Medicine is a stellar collection of philosophical essays, written by the leading scholars in the field. The volume draws on the phenomenological-existential tradition, and addresses contemporary issues in medical practice, including themes such as psychiatry, embodiment, death and pain, health, and technology. Illness stands at the intersection of biology and natural science on one hand and personal meaning and subjective experience on the other – the previously transparent body and homeliness of the world profoundly altered by ageing, illness, suffering and pain. This edited volume will be a superb resource for health care practitioners, philosophers, and wider colleagues in policy and academia.

Matthew Broome, Director of the Institute for Mental Health, University of Birmingham, UK

[…] remind[s] the readers of this society of an important area where humanistic practitioners, scholars and researchers — those who are sensitive to the existential dimension of human being — are needed today.

Journal of the Society for Humanistic Psychology

… the collection of essays in Kevin Aho’s inspiring publication is an invitation to join the exploration of phenomenology and existential medicine and find new potentials for philosophy of medicine within these traditions. Existential Medicine is a well-balanced but also composite collection of essays, a rhizome of Heidegger-medicine-hybrids that cover a remarkable amount of ground within the medical sphere. We join the many skillful thinkers who have contributed to the volume in an exploration of the possibilities for phenomenology—and particularly Heideggerian thought—to contribute in manifold ways and in a variety of debates within philosophy of medicine. … For the essay collection Aho has managed to curate a book that touches upon an impressive range of philosophical and medical fields. Particularly it is enjoyable that the collection has such a strong emphasis on illnesses that are typically considered somatic, thus succeeding in moving existential medicine beyond the psychiatric realm within which the use of philosophy—and particularly the use of existential philosophy—in medicine is sometimes stuck.

Phenomenological Reviews, 30 January 2019

Kevin Aho’s masterfully selected collection is an excellent showcase

of the contributions that phenomenology, hermeneutics, and existentialism

can make to medicine. The volume features insights by major

contributors to the field of medical humanities, inspired by the work of

Heidegger and Gadamer, among others.


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