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Alternatives to natural science foundations for nursing

Authors
Journal
International Journal of Nursing Studies
0020-7489
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
27
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0020-7489(90)90034-g
Disciplines
  • Education
  • Medicine
  • Philosophy

Abstract

Abstract The underlying philosophical assumptions associated with the current vogue for humanistic and holistic approaches to nursing have not been subjected to systematic scrutiny, laying nursing open to the charge of being anti-scientific and even irrational. This paper outlines some of these assumptions and their origins, and proceeds to a brief survey of their impact on nursing theory, education and practice. It concludes with a call for the elucidation and consolidation of nursing practice which reflects phenomenological and humanistic alternatives to the natural science principles which have characterized traditional medical practice. In this connection I have used the term ‘positivism’ to refer to a general orientation according to which the world can only be known through observable entities, and regularities may be demonstrated and general laws verified through their measurement and quantification.

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