chapter  40
12 Pages

Virtue Epistemology and Clinical Medical Judgment

WithBen Kotzee

This chapter considers one particular epistemic virtue that has attracted much attention in the philosophy of medicine: the virtue of 'clinical judgment'. It discusses that clinical judgment is the paradigmatic virtue that doctors need to respond to the epistemic problems with which they are confronted as doctors. The epistemology of medicine is a young field and few attempts have been made to sketch a complete virtue epistemology of medicine. It discusses the most prominent tradition in the philosophy of medicine, according to which clinical judgment is a form of the virtue that Aristotle called phronesis or practical wisdom. The chapter outlines the challenges for this position and pointed to where further work is needed to understand the nature, acquisition, and exercise of clinical judgment in medicine. While clinical judgment may be a virtue that is particularly important in the practice of medicine, thinking about clinical judgment in medicine may also shed light on the nature of professional judgment more generally.