Relational Truth-creation: Between Bare Literal Openness and Mutual Manipulation

  • Petra Gelhaus University of Linköping, Sweden
Keywords: truth, correspondence theory of truth, constructivist theory of truth, patient-physician-relationship, doctor-patient-communication, professional ethics, informed consent, hermeneutics


The intention of this article is to highlight some aspects that question a simplistic idea of truth as corresponding to the facts that is often implied in the imperative "Tell the truth!": the epistemological status of the biomedical information, the choice and development of relevant information, and the complicated process of adjusting two different ways of explanations with the actual state of affairs. Telling the truth is a delicate and complicated process, the more if it is embedded in other communicational tasks like therapy and diagnosis. It requires a successive development of mutual understanding, and it has educative and insofar also possibly manipulative aspects, that may on the first view contradict the guiding imperative. Thus, truth-telling is not translating a medical checklist to everyday language, but requires hermeneutic as well as constructive capacities from both, sender and receiver of the information.

Author Biography

Petra Gelhaus, University of Linköping, Sweden
MD, PHD, guest scholar
How to Cite
Gelhaus, P. (2013). Relational Truth-creation: Between Bare Literal Openness and Mutual Manipulation. Studia Philosophica Estonica, 6(2), 38-54.