虽然哲学和医学，从古希腊人开始，享有互利互动的悠久历史，但“医学哲学”的专业化是一个十九世纪的事件。现代术语中关于医学哲学的第一本学术着作之一是Elisha Bartlett在1844年出版的“医学哲学论文”。在二十世纪中后期，哲学家和医生们争论性地讨论了医学哲学是否是一门独立的学科。不同于哲学或医学的学科。然而，二十一世纪的共识是，它是一个独特的学科，有自己的一系列问题和问题。专业期刊，书籍系列，个人专着，以及专业协会和会议都致力于讨论和回答这些问题和问题。本文通过传统的哲学研究方法 – 医学哲学的各个方面以及哲学家解决其独特问题和问题的尝试来检验。为此，本文从现代医学面临的形而上学问题和问题开始，如还原论与整体论，现实主义与反现实主义，疾病病因学的因果关系以及疾病与健康的概念。然后，文章进入认识论问题和问题，特别是理性主义与经验主义，健全的医学思想和判断，健全的医学解释，以及有效的诊断和治疗知识。接下来，它将解决大量的道德问题和问题，特别是关于原则主义和患者与医生的关系。本文最后讨论了基于证据和以患者为中心的医学的最新趋势，医学知识和实践的本质构成了什么。最后，即使有关于非西方传统的充满活力的文献，本文也只关注西方医学哲学传统（Kaptchuk，2000; Lad，2002; Pole，2006; Unschuld，2010）。
While philosophy and medicine, beginning with the ancient Greeks, enjoyed a long history of mutually beneficial interactions, the professionalization of “philosophy of medicine” is a nineteenth century event. One of the first academic books on the philosophy of medicine in modern terms was Elisha Bartlett’s Essay on the Philosophy of Medical Science, published in 1844. In the mid to late twentieth century, philosophers and physicians contentiously debated whether philosophy of medicine was a separate discipline distinct from the disciplines of either philosophy or medicine. The twenty-first century consensus, however, is that it is a distinct discipline with its own set of problems and questions. Professional journals, books series, individual monographs, as well as professional societies and meetings are all devoted to discussing and answering that set of problems and questions. This article examines—by utilizing a traditional approach to philosophical investigation—all aspects of the philosophy of medicine and the attempts of philosophers to address its unique set of problems and questions. To that end, the article begins with metaphysical problems and questions facing modern medicine such as reductionism vs. holism, realism vs. antirealism, causation in terms of disease etiology, and notions of disease and health. The article then proceeds to epistemological problems and questions, especially rationalism vs. empiricism, sound medical thinking and judgments, robust medical explanations, and valid diagnostic and therapeutic knowledge. Next, it will address the vast array of ethical problems and questions, particularly with respect to principlism and the patient-physician relationship. The article concludes with a discussion of what constitutes the nature of medical knowledge and practice, in light of recent trends towards both evidence-based and patient-centered medicine. Finally, even though a vibrant literature on nonwestern traditions is available, this article is concerned only with the western tradition of philosophy of medicine (Kaptchuk, 2000; Lad, 2002; Pole, 2006; Unschuld, 2010).