Tag: Peter Aird

Do we care about sadness?

“All men seek happiness, this is without exception”. So wrote Blaise Pascal in his Pensées. But despite his assertion, and our best efforts, too many of us, it seems, find only sadness. In such circumstances we may well feel useless, but that’s not necessarily so. Knowing our inadequacy allows us to stop being doctors who can’t help and allows us to become people who can.

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Aristotle and general practice: What do good doctors do?

Aristotle had it right when he asserted in his ‘Metaphysics’ that ‘Those who wish to succeed must ask the right preliminary question’. More than 2000 years later, doctors would do well to listen to his advice. Before adopting each and every new advance that claims to be good for our patients, we should ask what we are hoping to achieve by following such recommendations.

We ought to consider whether the answer we come up with tallies with what I would propose might, in Aristotle’s eyes, be a good preliminary question to ask ourselves: ‘What do good doctors do?’

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