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How Can Doctors Understand Patients’ Pain?: A Study on Wittgenstein’s Concept of Pain Behavior

  • Korean Journal of Medical Ethics
  • Abbr : 의료윤리
  • 2017, 20(2), pp.219-233
  • DOI : 10.35301/ksme.2017.20.2.219
  • Publisher : The Korean Society For Medical Ethics
  • Research Area : Medicine and Pharmacy > General Medicine
  • Received : March 26, 2017
  • Accepted : June 7, 2017
  • Published : June 30, 2017

PARK,JeongSik 1 Jeong Chang-rok 2

1경북대학교 인문대학 철학과
2경북대학교 사범대학 윤리교육과

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Since pain is an internal or subjective experience, it is not possible for a doctor to experience a patient’s pain directly or to understand it fully. However, patients do describe or express their pain using language, which Wittgenstein considered to be a public phenomenon. It is primarily through language that a doctor understands a patent’s pain. This article examines the issue of pain within the context of medical care from the perspective of Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language. It is argued that Wittgenstein’s thinking illuminates what pain is and also how it should be understood by doctors.

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