Raymond Carlton Barfield
Professor of Pediatrics

Ray Barfield joined the faculties of Duke's Medical School and Divinity School in 2008. He is married to Karen Barfield, who is an Episcopal priest. Ray and Karen have two children, Micah and Alexandra.

Dr. Barfield came from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, where his research and practice focused on improving immune therapies for childhood cancer (including bone marrow transplantation and antibody therapy), and understanding the moral aspects of decision-making in medical research involving children. At Duke he has turned much of his effort towards bridging activities in theology, philosophy, literature, and medicine. He was the founding director of Duke's Pediatric Quality of Life/Palliative Care Program and the Theology, Medicine, and Culture program in the Divinity School. Currently he is the director of Medical Humanities in the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, and History of Medicine, and a Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

While he continues to publish research papers in oncology and palliative care, much of his current writing focuses on the impact of literature on philosophical thought, and the ways that literature and narrative open up philosophically engaging dimensions of human experience, not least the experiences of illness and suffering. He has over 100 publications in medicine, philosophy and poetry. His books include The Ancient Quarrel Between Poetry and Philosophy (philosophy, Cambridge University Press), Life in the Blind Spot (poetry), Wager: Beauty, Suffering, and Being in the World (philosophy), and The Book of Colors (a novel). He has three books forthcoming: The Practice of Medicine as Being in Time (Philosophy), The Poetic Apriori: Philosophical Imagination in a Meaningful Universe (philosophy), and Dante's New Moon 
(poetry).

Some information on this profile has been compiled automatically from Duke databases and external sources. (Our About page explains how this works.) If you see a problem with the information, please write to Scholars@Duke and let us know. We will reply promptly.