[lit-ideas] Re: ouisia essentia

  • From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 13:40:01 +0200

Why would you go to a doctor to ask if you have arthritis ? You are the one
who is privy to your physical symptoms, not the doctor. Presumably you
think that his conceptualization of arthritis is more accurate and reliable
than yours. " Do I have arthritis ? " can be parsed as: "Is the established
concept of arthritis applicable to these symptoms I am having ?" And we
don't go: "Well, my friends and me, none of whom have any medical
education, use the word 'arthritis' in this way, so that is what it is."

"Hearsay", I grant, may not exactly be the term to apply to someone who has
read professional literature about it, etc., even if they are not
themselves a professional.


On Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 6:35 AM, Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Omar writes
> I would once again invoke the analogy of doctors and the medical language.
> While medical terms such 'arthritis' may be used by non-doctors, such uses
> are derived by hear-say from medical uses. We don't tell doctors to
> investigate how 'ordinary people' use the word arthritis to find out what
> it means, but instead we refer the 'ordinary people' to professionals to
> obtain a better understanding of what it means from them, when needed. (For
> example, if they suspect that they have arthritis.) Some such might well be
> the case with philosophical terms.
> *Are you sure 'hearsay' is the word you want? It isn't clear whether
> you're comparing two meanings of the word 'arthritis' or looking for the
> difference between what a doctor says it means, *qua* doctor, and what
> 'ordinary people' mean by it. If I suspect, because of pain and swelling in
> my joints, that I have arthritis, I think I'd ask the doctor if I did, not
> what 'arthritis' means. I, an ordinary person, needn't have an 'ordinary
> person's' understanding of that (as opposed to a doctor's expertise in the
> field of muscles, joints, nerves and tendons) to know that arthritis is not
> a small green beetle (although Arthritis is). I also know I have
> osteoarthritis, not rheumatoid arthritis, which is lots worse.
> *Here, though, I'm lost. I suspect that 'arthritis' is no more a medical
> term than 'hives' is, but what if it were? Is the word copyright by the
> AMA, so that ordinary people can't enter into the language game of medicine
> unless they understand its *real* meaning, which apparently they cannot,
> being but ordinary folk with ordinary understandings of what words mean—and
> who gets to decide.
> •I've been watching reruns of the TV series 'House M.D.' (House is an MD.)
> So far, I've learned that doctors swear a lot and use a lot of jargon,
> mostly Latin. When Dr Panek diagnoses someone as having supraventricular
> tachycardia, I just close my dictionary and get out of the way.
> Robert Paul
> —————

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