This volume is dedicated to the philosophy of medicine advanced by Edmund D. Pellegrino, a renowned physician educator and philosopher. Pellegrino's thinking about the philosophy of medicine centers on the importance of illness in the life of the patient, and the professional relationship established by promising to alleviate suffering. From this relationship norms are established that contribute to the staying power of medicine as a moral enterprise.
Chapters are included from established thinkers and newcomers to the field, all of whom have been influenced by Pellegrino. Some chapters expand upon his thinking for primary care, managed care, and other delivery systems. Other chapters explain in more detail certain key concepts in Pellegrino's thought, like beneficence, doing no harm, and clinical phronesis or prudential decision making. Still others explore areas of difficulty like the reliance on role modeling and virtue ethics, the problem of pluralism and a loss of professional normative ethics, and the search for the foundations of the philosophy of medicine.
Constructing a viable philosophy of medicine for the next century is an essential task for grounding the morality of medicine during enormous social and economic change. Pellegrino's thinking and the ideas of those he has influenced will contribute immensely to this challenge.