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Asking the Right Question about Pain: Narrative and Phronesis

From: Literature and Medicine
Volume 23, Number 2, Fall 2004
pp. 209-225 | 10.1353/lm.2005.0003

Abstract

A story about postoperative pain care initiates an exploration of thinking with stories, as opposed to thinking about stories. One story leads to another, and the initial story about hospital care morphs into the medieval romance of Parzival, the knight who must learn to ask the right question of someone in pain. Learning to ask the right question is presented as an example of Aristotle's concept of phronesis, a type of knowledge that is not adequately recognized in contemporary medicine.