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"On Second Thought" and Other Essays in the History of Medicine and Science

'"On Second Thought" and Other Essays in the History of Medicine and Science' cover image

"On Second Thought" and Other Essays in the History of Medicine and Science

Over the course of a career spanning most of the twentieth century, distinguished historian Owsei Temkin has argued passionately for the necessity of chronicling and analyzing the history of medicine. The essays presented in "On Second Thought" and Other Essays in the History of Medicine and Science span Dr. Temkin's career, bringing together new pieces and many previously unavailable outside the journals in which they were originally published. Here the reader will find new thoughts and ideas that deviate from Dr. Temkin's earlier beliefs and reflect a lifetime of research into the historical and ethical foundations of modern medicine.

Dr. Temkin addresses medical ethics, tracing the idea of respect for life through the history of medicine and exploring the moral complications of the concept of disease. The volume opens with "On Second Thought," a new essay reflecting on the author's career. Also new is a previously unpublished translation and interpretation of the Hippocratic Oath which takes a very different point of view from that made famous by the author's friend and colleague Ludwig Edelstein. Other essays reflect on the history of therapy and nutrition, including drug therapy, and comment on the lessons ancient medicine can teach modern medicine. Dr. Temkin also writes on topics in the history of science, including the Age of Copernicus, as well as Gall and the phrenological movement. The final essay in the book brings the volume full circle, reproducing Dr. Temkin's obituary for Edelstein—included, he writes, to atone for his own more recent distancing from Edelstein's views.