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The Soul of Medicine

This article considers contributions that the medical humanities have made to biomedical ethics. Philosophy has contributed methods of ethical justification to case analysis and has given birth to the New Professionalism movement. Taking biography as its paradigmatic resource, this movement has refocused medical education on the formation of physicians who not only have certain responsibilities to their patients, but also a regard for the role of the medical profession in working toward social justice. However, reliance on biography is now giving way to a renewed emphasis on autobiography, as educators seek to support medical students through the personal and spiritual journey that confrontation with death, disease, and injustice naturally entails. Reflective methods and techniques characterize this emerging era as educators and students try to preserve and reinvigorate the soul of medicine.

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