Logical Confusions and Moral Dilemmas in Health Care Teams and Team Talk

  • Edmund L. Erde
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 12)


The call for teams of health care professionals is pervasive ([8], [12], [56]). The language of teams and teamwork — what I shall call “team talk” — in medical contexts apparently dates from the earlier decades of this century ([5], [8]). In this essay, I will offer what I believe Theodore Brown was calling for in “An Historical View of Health Care Teams”, namely, a philosophical analysis of the concept of team with applications of that analysis to the medical context. My goal is to articulate a synthetic understanding of the salient features of the ethos, ideology, rhetoric, and ethics of teams in health care. I will discuss all four (in various degrees) since I do not believe that any could be understood properly in isolation. Beginning with some brief historical, sociological, and attitudinal observations, I will discuss some ethical issues which emerge from a consideration of medical culture and from the larger social setting of workers’ rights. Finally, I will outline the rhetoric of team talk and critically discuss the ethics of this rhetoric.


Social Contract Cognitive Dissonance Moral Dilemma Health Care Team York Time Magazine 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edmund L. Erde
    • 1
  1. 1.New Jersey School of Osteopathic MedicineUniversity of Medicine and Dentistry of New JerseyUSA

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