Three Conceptions of the Body in the Practice of Medicine 

Yale School of Medicine  |  September 29, 2018

Lydia Dugdale, Yale School of Medicine  |  Brett McCarty, Duke University

There are three fundamental ways that the patient’s body is imagined and engaged in modern medicine: as enemy, object, and friend.  Each conception of the body brings with it a way of understanding medical practice as a moral activity.  The practice of medicine can be thought of a hostile encounter with foreign invaders or rebellious body parts, a technique of mapping and manipulating objects in motion, and a means of befriending estranged flesh.  What do each of these conceptions imply for how we understand what it means to practice medicine well?

This seminar is open to Yale School of Medicine students and other Yale graduate students interested in medical ethics.

Co-sponsored with The Yale School of Medicine Program for Biomedical Ethics.

Applications due Sept 10

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Lydia Dugdale is Associate Professor at the Yale School of Medicine, where she is Associate Director of the Program for Biomedical Ethics and Co-Director of the Program for Medicine, Spirituality, and Religion. Her scholarship focuses on biomedical ethics, with particular emphasis on care at the end of life. She is editor of the book Dying in the Twenty-first Century: Toward a New Ethical Framework for the Art of Dying Well (MIT Press, May 2015). She received her medical degree from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine and completed her clinical training at Yale-New Haven Hospital. She practices primary care medicine with Yale Internal Medicine Associates. 

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Brett McCarty is the St. Andrews Fellow in Theology and Science at Duke Divinity School. He graduated from Furman University and received his M.Div and Th.D. from Duke. His dissertation examined how the body is understood and encountered within the modern research hospital in an effort to enable better understandings of the conditions and possibilities of faithful moral agency for medical practitioners. His current work draws upon interviews conducted in eastern Tennessee and explores how theology and scientific medicine can work together to assist those who are ill and in pain in making peace with their bodies, with others, and with God.