WHY SHOULD PHILOSOPHY IN MEDICINE BE REANIMATED? -CHANGING THE CULTURE OF MEDICAL EDUCATION-

Thomas Bohrer, Pierre-Carl Link, Michael Schmidt, Johann Heinrich Koenigshausen

Abstract


Ever since the time of Hippocrates more than 2,500 years ago, western medical training has included instruction in philosophy, and for many centuries this remained almost unchanged. Among lettered physicians, some familiarity with natural philosophy was considered essential in the exercise of their profession. This is vividly reflected by Tertullian who said:  “Philosophy is the sister of Medicine” (medicina soror philosophiae; in De Anima). More than two thousand years later, triggered by the increasing interest in the academic approach,  scientific thinking became more and more important. New subjects like chemistry, botany and physiology emerged. In 1861, medical studies in Prussia/Germany were reformed. The “Tentamen phiolosophicum” was replaced by the “Tentamen physicum” which to this day functions as the medical preliminary examination. This change represented a complete reorientation with a primacy of the scientific side of medicine in Germany – similiar to many other countries of the world at this time, including the United States 

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