1st Edition

Distrust, Fear, and Science-Denial in Medicine and Healthcare

    198 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Over recent decades, the decline of trust, mounting of fears, and increasing denial of science appear as a marked shift of societal attitudes towards many institutions and professionals. This book analyses these developments and looks at their role in medicine and healthcare, both in terms of the patient-physician relationship and for delivering high-quality healthcare, in order to establish why we need trust and what can be done to restore it. It begins by offering a conceptual analysis and definition of trust, using a ‘pattern definition’ based upon typical features and common usage of the term, as well as the related concepts of hope, fear, and belief. It charts evidence for the decline of public trust in various professions, and then looks at the causes, as well as the accompanying growth of fear and the rejection of science. The study addresses possible options for restoring trust in medicine and healthcare, be it in individual physicians, in hospitals, or in managed care institutions. Written jointly by a medical doctor and an academic specialising in Biomedical Ethics, the book will be of interest to those working in the areas of Biomedical Ethics and Law, Medicine and Healthcare, Public Health, Philosophy, Sociology, Politics and Psychology.

    Introduction. Part I: Definitions 1. Trust, Mistrust and Distrust 2. Hope, Fear, and Despair 3. Belief, Doubt, and Disbelief Part II: Explanations 4. The Value of Trust 5. Empirical Evidence for the Decline of Trust in Physicians 6. Reasons for the Decline of Trust in Physicians 7. The Rejection of Science and Reason 8. From Justified Fears to Irrational Beliefs and Conspiracy Theories 9. ‘Why Can’t People be More Like Us?’ On Relativist, Postmodernist, Subjectivist, Post-truth, Anti-Scientific and Anti-Expert Thinking. Part III: Suggestions 10. Dispelling two Illusions Regarding the Restoration of Trust 11. How to Establish and Maintain Trust 12. Countering Fear, Science-Denial, and Pseudoscience. Epilogue. Index


    Markus Wolfensberger is Emeritus Professor of Otorhinolaryngology and Doctor of medical ethics. He has held positions as Head of the Department of Otorhino-laryngology and Director of the Head and Neck Tumour Centre at Basel University Hospital, Switzerland.

    Anthony Wrigley is Professor of Ethics at the University of Keele, U.K. He specialises in Bioethics and Applied Ethics. Much of his work focuses on ethical and policy issues on the margins of life (beginnings and ends) and the analysis of concepts used in bioethical debate, such as vulnerability, hope, and trust