Love and death: Existential dimensions of physicians’difficulties with moral problems

David Barnard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Physicians often appear more troubled by moral dilemmas than would seem justified given the present social and professional consensus on many of the questions involved. Their discomfort arises not only at ethical, technical, and behavioral levels (the most commonly identified sources of difficulty), but also at an existential level, that is, as the manifestation of conflicts rooted in the processes and conditions of our coming-to-be as persons. Analysis of this level of physicians’ moral difficulties requires renewed attention to the physician as a person, and suggests new perspectives on the interpersonal environment of medical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-409
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Medicine and Philosophy (United Kingdom)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Existential themes
  • Medical ethics
  • Physician as person
  • Religion and psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Philosophy


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