Medicine has been said to be both a science and an art. Many practitioners regard this statement as containing an element of “either/or”. A brief look at what scientists and artists have written about their work and their world views, however, suggests that the two fields of endeavour form a complementary part of our attempts to understand ourselves and the world about us. Moreover, on occasion, each can perform some of the other's tasks. This paper quotes from the writings of physicians, scientists and people active in the humanities in order to demonstrate how frequently their thoughts converge. It also presents a case report from general practice illustrative of the idea that there is much common ground between the “hard” and the “soft” in medicine. Indeed, the profession's art and science may really be one.
- problem solving
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Joseph Herman, MD, is a General Practitioner in the Assia Community Health Center, Netivot, Israel.
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