Language in Clinical Reasoning: Towards a new understanding

Stephen Loftus

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    Clinical reasoning is still poorly understood. This book opens up the subject by looking from the viewpoint of language use. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, informed by scholars such as Wittgenstein, Vygotsky, Bakhtin and Gadamer, the study utilises a social constructionist approach to reveal that clinical reasoning is primarily a social and linguistic skill, acquired by participating in communities of practice called health professions. These communities of practice have their own subculture which includes an interpretive repertoire of specific language tools and skills. The interpretive repertoire that health professionals need to master includes skills with words, categories, metaphors, heuristics, narratives, rituals, rhetoric and hermeneutics. All these skills need to be coordinated, both in constructing a diagnosis and management plan and in communicating clinical decisions to other people, in a manner that can be judged as intelligible, legitimate, persuasive, and carrying the moral authority for subsequent action.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationSaarbrücken, Germany
    PublisherVDM Verlag Dr. Muller
    Number of pages189
    ISBN (Print)9783639125290
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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