Tag Archives: philosophy

Medical and literary coupling

Stephen Finn South Africa   (To be read aloud, with gusto and with a strong beat) Collage created by Hektoen staff. Images from left to right. Top row: Portrait of Rabelais, circa 1820. By Louis-François Durrans. From the Rabelais Museum, via Wikimedia; Anton Chekhov, via Wikimedia. Center: Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash Bottom […]

Viktor Frankl: the meaning of a life

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Viktor Frankl, 1965. Creative Commons. Not long before the Dachau concentration camp was liberated in April 1945, Viktor Emil Frankl was seriously ill with typhus and writing feverishly on stolen scraps of paper, determined to keep himself and his ideas alive. Faced with the prospect […]

The Valsalva maneuver

JMS Pearce Hull, England, UK   Fig 1. Valsalva’s maneuver. Source It is a paradox that the discovery of the Valsalva maneuver did not relate to cardiovascular physiology but to the treatment of discharges from the ear. Valsalva’s maneuver is now used physiologically1 to test cardiac and autonomic function, and in several other diagnostic and […]

Carl Gustav Jung

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Carl Jung. Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Creative Commons. In the autumn of 1913, Carl Gustav Jung was traveling alone by train through the rust and amber forest of the Swiss countryside. The thirty-eight-year-old psychiatrist had been lately troubled by strange dreams and a rising sense of tension, […]

Ivan Illich after almost half a century

Photo of Ivan Illich. Via Wikimedia. Ivan Illich died in 2002 and is now in danger of being forgotten. His famous book, Medical Nemesis,1 appeared in 1975 and captured the imagination and approbation of many. He was a vehement critic of the “medical establishment,” which he regarded as a threat to people’s health. He was […]

Revisiting the “Trolley Problem” in the COVID-19 pandemic

Margaret B. Mitchell Boston, Massachusetts, United States Graham M. Attipoe  Nashville, Tennessee, United States   Bridge situation. John Holbo. 2010. CC BY-NC 2.0. Via Flickr The “Trolley Problem” Originally described by Philipa Foot in 1967, the “Trolley Problem” is an ethical dilemma commonly taught in philosophy that challenges participants to explore how far they would […]

Friedrich Nietzsche—much afflicted philosopher

Friedrich Nietzsche By Edvard Munch. 1906. Thielska Gallerie, Sweden. Via Wikimedia. Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the most important philosophers of the nineteenth century. Though often misinterpreted, his influence has been enormous. Like his compatriot Schopenhauer, he questioned the comfortable beliefs of the conservative bourgeoisie of his time. His writings have fascinated generations of readers, […]

Modern neuroscience and the ideas of the Enlightenment

Stephen Martin Durham, United Kingdom   Fig. 1. Mrs. Jane Wilkinson, one of the first independent Georgian music teachers. English, Philip Gaugain, 1835. UK private collection. The Enlightenment was a philosophical movement in eighteenth-century Europe that had a major influence on the arts, science, education, religion, and politics. Its principles paved the way for women […]

Where philosophy and medicine overlap

Mariami Shanshashvili Tbilisi, Georgia   Achilles bandaging Patroclus’s wounded arm. Ink drawing after an Attic cup by the potter Sosias, c.500 B.C. Achilles bandaging Patroclus’s wounded arm. Ink drawing after an Attic cup by the potter Sosias, c. 500 B.C. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY In Plato’s Charmides there is a remark by Socrates that is neither […]

The language game of medicine

Gunjan Sharma Devon, United Kingdom   Photo by Ludomił on Unsplash “The arrow points only in the application that a living being makes of it.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein1   The Language Game Language is a fascinating concept when viewed through a philosophical lens. Imagine if we no longer had a word for jealousy. Would that […]