Dialogues in Research Ethics, February

February 25, 2011 — RMSB 4rd-Floor Auditorium —

Friday, February 25, 2011, noon-1 pm
RMSB 4th Floor Auditorium, Miller School of Medicine
Beyond the “Art and Science” of Medicine
Miriam Solomon, Ph.D.
Temple University


It is common to claim that there is an art as well as a science of medicine. The “art of medicine” can mean a number of different skills, such as clinical insight, wisdom, the ability to apply general knowledge to particular cases, taking care of the patient as a whole rather than a particular pathology, or even “that je ne sais quoi” of medical practice. I suggest that using an art-science dichotomy is no longer a helpful characterization of how we know in medicine. It should be replaced by a more pluralistic understanding of the nature of medical science and the proper role of biomedical research.

Dr. Solomon is Professor of Philosophy at Temple University. She works in the areas of philosophy of science, philosophy of medicine, medical ethics and gender and science. She is the author of Social Empiricism (MIT Press, 2001) and many articles, including “The Social Epistemology of Consensus Conferences in Medicine” (in Establishing Medical Reality: Methodological and Metaphysical Issues in Philosophy of Medicine, ed. Harold Kincaid, Springer 2007) and “Epistemological Reflections on the Art of Medicine and Narrative Medicine” (Perspectives on Biology and Medicine 2008;51(3):406-417). She is working on a book on new paradigms in medical epistemology, including consensus conferences, evidence-based medicine, narrative medicine and translational medicine.


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