Values-based medicine and modest foundationalism

Miles Little, Wendy Lipworth, Jill Gordon, Pippa Markham, Ian Kerridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Philosophically, values refer to the basic commitments that justify judgements, beliefs and practices, both at the community and personal levels. The study of these kinds of values is axiology. We suggest that all people subscribe to three foundational values - survival, security and flourishing - and that these foundational values are expressed by way of concepts, systems, principles and practices that may differ substantially from culture to culture. Values can stand on their own as foundational justifications for health care and medicine. Many ethical quandaries can be better understood, even though they may remain unsolved, by reference to the foundational values that people can agree upon. This version of values-based health care has strong claims to prior logical status as a justification for the whole enterprise of health care, and values-based medicine is a part of this larger domain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1020-1026
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • evidence-based medicine
  • medical education
  • medical practice
  • medical research
  • values
  • values-based medicine


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