My dissertation addresses a long-standing inarticulacy within modern medicine about its malaise and its good. I locate the problem in its dominant but reductive image of the human person, which tends to regard ethical and religious values in terms solely of their instrumental importance. Drawing on Charles Taylor and Augustine, and taking a hermeneutic approach, I argue for and clarify our ontology as hermeneutic selves. I do so in order to make sense of the constitutive good of what medicine always already is—a meaning-filled human response to human need—and its malaise as a deepening alienation from that relational good.
As a Marty Fellow, I hope to develop the dissertation’s final chapters, which will illustrate the significance of my thesis for interdisciplinary discourses on professionalism and health justice. I cannot imagine a better context for doing so than the Divinity School’s Marty seminars and public interlocutors’ forum, which exemplify the interdisciplinary spirit of these chapters. I look forward to engaging my colleagues, the faculty, and the public in critical dialogue about our many issues of common concern.