March 28th 2011, 15:47
Philosophy is the art of asking the difficult question, and it is the engine room of most of the sciences. Physicists, astrophysicists and biologists, for instance, are driven by the quest to understand the complexity of life and how it began.
Medicine, on the other hand, doesn't ask the fundamental questions. It's down to the patient to be the philosopher in the relationship with his or her doctor. Told that you have a life-threatening condition, the first - and most obvious - questions are: why do I have the disease, and how did it start?
The doctor isn't interested in the whys and wherefores. Instead, he is trained to examine the presenting symptoms and come to a diagnosis as quickly as possible so that treatment can begin.