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IMAGINATION AND IDEALISM IN THE MEDICAL SCIENCES

CHRISTIAN A. HERTER, M.D.
JAMA. 1910;LIV(6):423-430. doi:10.1001/jama.1910.92550320001001.
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ABSTRACT

The presidential invitation in response to which I am about to address you to-day was welcome to me because it offered a rare chance to express some views of medical progress which I think are too seldom presented to the student. I have in mind the influence of imagination and idealism on the growth of medical discovery. Vividly recalling, as I do, the experiences' of my own student days, more than a quarter century past, I fancy you as coming to the acquisition of the myriad facts of medicine with little to tell you of the intellectual forces and historical sequences by which those facts have emerged. If this surmise be correct, it follows that you incline to take a static rather than a dynamic view of the nature of scientific medicine, in the sense that you regard medical lore as something much more fixed than is actually the case.

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