Is a global pandemic really the best time to question the foundations of modern medicine? Aren’t there more urgent and practical things to talk about?
Kimbell Kornu, a professor of palliative care and health care ethics at St. Louis University, insists there is no better time. Covid has been an apocalypse — quite literally an unveiling — revealing the utilitarianism of modern medicine. We can debate procedure all day long, but questions about what it means to be human — to live a good life and die a good death — remain unanswerable and often unaskable.
In this wide-ranging interview, Kornu describes medicine as more of an art than a science. “The goal and end of medicine is healing, and this is why medicine is intrinsically moral, not merely a scientific practice that you just apply to particulars.”
“Science can’t give itself the reason to do medicine,” Kornu explains. It is unable to tell us why we should care about another person. Medical practice based solely on science will remain impoverished, impersonal, and even profoundly nihilistic.
Listen to this engaging interview with Kimbell Kornu over at Mars Hill Audio. To go deeper, read his essay "The Nihilism of Modern Medicine" over at Theopolis.