Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Plato

  • Plato’s and Bacon’s views on the role of medical care for chronic diseases

    (Abstracted from the essay on Francis Bacon by Lord Macaulay) “To Plato, the science of medicine appeared to be of very disputable advantages. He did not indeed object to quick cures for acute disorders, or for injuries produced by accidents. But the art which resists the slow sap of a chronic disease had no share…

  • Psychiatric care at the historical Athens Mental Health Facility

    Cherron Payne Farmington, Connecticut, United States   Athens Asylum for the Insane, Athens State Hospital Administration Building, Circa late 19th Century to early 20th Century. Ohio University Archives. When I was an undergraduate student at Ohio University in Athens, my friends and I would often hike to an intriguing place called the Ridges, overlooking the picturesque…

  • A brief history of menstruation

    Fangzhou LuoPortland, Oregon, United States After a few failed attempts to redirect a flirtatious student to “higher pleasures” like music, the Ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician Hypatia resorted to revealing where she was in her menstrual cycle to deter him. The philosopher who recorded this—Damascius—does not specify if this student was Orestes,1 who remained a…

  • Book review: The Origins of Modern Science

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom Science and medicine have long been intertwined: many advances in the field of medicine would not have been possible without prior knowledge of fundamental science. It is not surprising, therefore, that a medical historian would also find the history of science fascinating. In this book, Ofer Gal has described the…

  • Gymnopédie

    Mark TanNorthwest Deanery, UK Oblique et coupant l’ombre un torrent éclatantRuisselait en flots d’or sur la dalle polieOù les atomes d’ambre au feu se miroitantMêlaient leur sarabande à la gymnopédie [English translation]: Slanting and shadow-cutting a bursting streamTrickled in gusts of gold on the shiny flagstoneWhere the amber atoms in the fire gleamingMingled their sarabande…

  • A traditional practice in baby care: salting

    Sinem ÇakaSakarya, TurkeySümeyra TopalKahramanamaras, TurkeyNursan ÇınarSakarya, Turkey In many societies, there are traditional practices performed to protect babies from magic, witchcraft, or the evil eye. At first, it may seem that these practices would have no particular effect on health. Some of these traditions bring psychological relief for the family, but some may delay the…

  • Where philosophy and medicine overlap

    Mariami ShanshashviliTbilisi, Georgia In Plato’s Charmides there is a remark by Socrates that is neither distinctively impressive nor remarkably original but interesting for the notably broad range of references, including the perception characteristic to ancient Greeks, the origins of the Greek medicine, and the philosophy of Empedocles, Alcmaeon, and other Pre-Socratics.1 In this passage young…

  • Plato on free and slave doctors

    Athenian: And have you further observed that there are slaves as well as free men among the patients in our communities. The slaves are generally treated by slave doctors, who pay them a hurried visit or wait for them in the dispensaries. A physician of this kind never speaks to his patient individually or lets…

  • Doctor Rabelais Part IV: Rabelais on women and doctors

    “When I speak of women,” said the doctor, “I speak of a sex so fragile, so variable, so changeable, so inconstant, and so imperfect . . . that Plato, you will recall, was at a loss where to class them. . . . For nature has placed in their bodies . . . certain humors,…

  • In defense of good pimping: The Socratic method

    Gregory MarcusSan Francisco, California, USA Socrates was executed for berating ancient Athenians with questions in order to test their knowledge. I try to keep this in mind when badgering trainees for the same purpose. Of course, questioning to the point of what is maybe best described as “learner discomfort” is no longer acceptable in many…