The physician-patient relationship: Models and criticisms

Howard Brody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A review of the philosophical debate on theoretical models for the physician-patient relationship over the past fifteen years may point to some of the more productive questions for future research. Contractual models have been criticized for promoting a legalistic and minimalistic image of the relationship, such that another form of model (such as "convenant") is required. Shifting from a contractual to a contractarian model (in keeping with Rawls' notion of an original position) provides an adequate response to many criticisms of this type. A deeper criticism, however, is one that advocates a shift to a virtue-based approach. A creative amalgam between a contractarian model and elements of the virtue-based approach, combined with appropriate empirical investigation, may yield richer models in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-220
Number of pages16
JournalTheoretical Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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