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2010 | 11 | 43-50

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MEDICAL SENSE OF THE THESIS ON THE PSYCHOPHYSICAL UNITY OF MAN - SUMMARY (Medyczny sens tezy o jednosci psychofizycznej czlowieka)


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It is medicine rather than philosophical considerations that induces to accept the thesis on the substantial unity of man. Every physician will become convinced if he is presented with a self-evident fact. Admittedly, a particular organ hurts, e.g. a kidney or stomach, but it is the human who is in pain, and not the organ. Similarly, a particular organ is damaged, but it is the human who is sick. The physician, so to say, fixes a damaged organ or physiological system, but he treats the human. If the physician can see that his actions are admittedly directed towards a particular sphere of human body but they refer to the whole human being as such, changing not only his somatic state but also his psychological state, then the physician will realize that even though he affects the corporal sphere by means of material measures, he treats the human and not his corporeality. This is the medical sense of the thesis on the psychophysical unity of man. If man was not the psychophysical unity, then 'fixing' a particular organ would be as fixing the roof or the floor in one's house. Medical sense of the thesis on the psychophysical unity of man also reveals an essential fallacy of a certain standpoint which has been propagated in medical and philosophical circles more and more frequently. Namely, understanding this sense is substantiation of rejection of all the so-called holistic conceptions of treatment according to which the physician is supposed to treat 'the whole human being'. At the same time it is a condition for understanding why the physician should combine his professional competence with a human approach towards the patient. English version of this paper will be published in: 'Slupskie Studia Filozoficzne'.






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  • dr hab. Maria Nowacka, prof. UwB, Uniwersytet w Bialymstoku, Katedra Bioetyki i Antropologii Filozoficznej, Pl. Uniwersytecki 1, 15-420 Bialystok


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