Medicine: Science or Art?

Mens Sana Monogr. 2006 Jan;4(1):127-38. doi: 10.4103/0973-1229.27610.

Abstract

Debate over the status of medicine as an Art or Science continues. The aim of this paper is to discuss the meaning of Art and Science in terms of medicine, and to find out to what extent they have their roots in the field of medical practice. What is analysed is whether medicine is an "art based on science"; or, the "art of medicine" has lost its sheen (what with the rapid advancements of science in course of time, which has made present day medicine more sophisticated). What is also analysed is whether the "science of medicine" is a pure one, or merely applied science; or the element of science in it is full of uncertainty, simply because what is accepted as "scientific" today is discarded by medical practitioners tomorrow in the light of newer evidence. The paper also briefly touches upon how, in the field of present medical education, the introduction of medical humanities or humanistic education has the potential to swing the pendulum of medicine more towards the lost "art of medicine".The paper concludes by saying that the art and science of medicine are complementary. For successful practice, a doctor has to be an artist armed with basic scientific knowledge in medicine.

Keywords: Art of Medicine; Evidence-based Medicine; Human Faculty; Humanistic Education; Science.