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The Person Is The Organism: Overcoming The Nature-Culture Dichotomy In Person Centred Healthcare

Richard Hamilton


Person Centred Healthcare (PCH) arose in the context of gerontology but has now broadened its impact to the wider healthcare domain. While there is much to celebrate in this, there are some serious conceptual flaws in the framework which have only ramified as it continues to grow. Central to these flaws is a dichotomous view of the distinction between persons as the subjects of PCH and the biological organism which is the concern of the traditional bio-medical model. Most worryingly this has led some PCH advocates to flirt with unscientific and potentially dangerous Complementary and Alternative therapies. This article examines this dichotomy and suggests, following Tim Ingold, that ‘the person is the organism’ but that to properly understand this we need a more nuanced view of both persons and organisms which a developmentalist perspective makes possible.


Anthropology, biomedical model, centre of care, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), consumerism, contemporary biology, paternalism, patient autonomy, person-centered care, personhood, reductionism, social determinants of health, social science

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