Nussbaum, a psychiatrist who labels himself a “bad Catholic,” delves with religious fervor into the mystery of his calling to serve people who suffer. Guided by mentors like Basil of Caesarea, Hildegard of Bingen, and Stanley Hauerwas, he envisions medical care as a precious craft honed by the development of virtue.
One of my grad school teachers said that anyone teaching bioethics should adopt Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Upon arriving at Baylor I took up her suggestion, and I have taught the National Book Critics Circle Award winner twice a year for nearly a decade.
Medicine, Daniel Callahan argues, has become the sustainer of false hope in the face of death and dissolution. Callahan calls for a medicine more modest in its aspirations and more careful in its promises. Giving up the illusion that it can extend life indefinitely for a few, this new medicine would devote itself to making life better for the many.