Volume 10, Issue 2, May/August 2021
An African Response to the Philosophical Crises in Medicine
Towards an African Philosophy of Medicine and Bioethics
In this paper, I identify two major philosophical crises confronting medicine as a global phenomenon. The first crisis is the epistemological crisis of adopting an epistemic attitude, adequate for improving medical knowledge and practice. The second is the ethical crisis, also known as the “quality-of-care crisis,” arising from the traditional patient-physician dyad. I acknowledge the different proposals put forward in the quest for solutions to these crises. However, I observe that most of these proposals remain inadequate given their over-reliance on the Western biomedical tradition (WBT) and the medical hegemony that underpins the proposals themselves. Contrary to the approach employed in these proposals, I propose medical pluralism as a viable platform for resolving the philosophic crises in medicine, by critically engaging non-Western medical traditions (NMTs) and thought systems. Ultimately, I make a push for the deliberate inauguration of an African philosophy of medicine and bioethics (APMB) and other context-specific or indigenous philosophies of medicine and bioethics that will ensure continuous investigations into NMTs and their contribution to global medical issues.