Views & Reviews Between the Lines

A fully rational life

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b74 (Published 14 January 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b74
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    Theodor Gomperz (1832-1912) was a great Austrian classicist who impressed and was impressed by Freud: indeed it was he who commissioned Freud to translate a volume of John Stuart Mill’s work into German. Gomperz’s son, a philosopher, was a patient of Freud’s for a time.

    Gomperz devoted a chapter in his great four volume history of classical philosophy to the Greek doctors, especially to Hippocrates and the school of Cos. He was extremely complimentary about them, seeing them as forerunners not only of rational medicine but of a properly empirical and scientific approach to the phenomena of nature as a whole.

    To Gomperz primitive medicine was merely absurd: “As well …

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