Tensions Between Individualism and Holism: A Philosophy of Social Science Perspective

Paul Crampton*, Jamie Buckland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Healthcare is largely a social teamwork activity in which individuals must work cooperatively to provide safe patient care. In preparation for this approach, educational frameworks aim to develop student competence through effective means, considering the relationships of individuals and teams, whilst enabling safe care. In this chapter, we unravel key arguments of philosophical understandings in the philosophy of social science and examine how these may begin to, or currently are, permeating the health professions field. We explore interprofessional teamwork, workplace-based assessments of competency, and distinctions between constructivism and constructionism through the lens of the individualism versus holism debate to explore the way in which our field conceptualises individuals and teams, and the ramifications of these conceptualisations on how we design, implement, assess, and research health professions education.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationApplied Philosophy for Health Professions Education
Subtitle of host publicationA Journey Towards Mutual Understanding
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9789811915123
ISBN (Print)9789811915116
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2022.

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