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Med Teach. 2010 Jan;32(1):71-5. doi: 10.3109/01421590903386799.

Sophistry, the Sophists and modern medical education.

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1
Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health Research, St Vincent's University Hospital/University College Dublin, Ireland. seamus.macsuibhne@ucd.ie

Abstract

The term 'sophist' has become a term of intellectual abuse in both general discourse and that of educational theory. However the actual thought of the fifth century BC Athenian-based philosophers who were the original Sophists was very different from the caricature. In this essay, I draw parallels between trends in modern medical educational practice and the thought of the Sophists. Specific areas discussed are the professionalisation of medical education, the teaching of higher-order characterological attributes such as personal development skills, and evidence-based medical education. Using the specific example of the Sophist Protagoras, it is argued that the Sophists were precursors of philosophical approaches and practices of enquiry underlying modern medical education.

PMID:
20095778
DOI:
10.3109/01421590903386799
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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