Medical Thinking: A Historical Preface

by Lester S. King. vii + 336 pages. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey 08540. 1982. $19.50

Pascal J. Imperato State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York 11203

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Medical Thinking is an insightful examination of the historical continuity of the logical constants in medicine. That the author is eminently successful at this is due in large measure to his careful analysis of the philosophical character of problems encountered in medicine and their historical dimensions as well. Dr. King's basic premise is that modes of medical thinking have not really changed. What has changed are the modalities for answering what are in effect old questions. Of late, these modalities have been highly technological ones that tend to both minimize their predecessors and also obscure the basic fact that medical logic has not really altered much.

The book is divided into six sections containing a total of 14 chapters. The first section, By Way of Background, contains two chapters, Persistent Problems of Medicine and Consumption: The Story of a Disease.