Does Ophthalmology Need Philosophy?

Turk J Ophthalmol. 2021 Oct 26;51(5):301-307. doi: 10.4274/tjo.galenos.2021.29569.


Although ophthalmology has made significant progress and awareness about eye care and the accessibility of health technology has increased, there are still aspects that might be improved. One of the ways to achieve improvement is philosophical investigation of some reasoning and behavior styles in ophthalmology. Philosophy means love of wisdom, and the philosophical approach can contribute to increasing the wisdom of ophthalmologists. Logical fallacies currently affecting the decisions of ophthalmologists can be reduced. "ontology" can contribute to a better understanding of "the nature of reality". A detailed inquiry about the basic concepts concerning ophthalmology may support better reasoning styles. Reflecting on epistemological questions such as "What is true knowledge?", justifying information, and having a skeptical attitude may help to make decisions with more accurate information. The philosophy of science is concerned with the detailed investigation, questioning, and understanding of ophthalmologists' scientific activities and may form the missing link between ophthalmology and philosophy. Moreover, the claim that philosophy's contribution to science is of no interest to scientists warrants consideration. The philosophers of science Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn have made significant contributions to the perception of science that are still valid today. Karl Popper proposed that a demarcation between science and pseudo-science might be made through the concept of "falsification". According to this concept, a statement is scientific if it can be tested and falsified using valid methods. Thomas Kuhn stated that major scientific changes (i.e., revolutions) occur through paradigm shifts. Although the areas of moral philosophy/ethics/bioethics have generated useful ideas and practices for the improvement of the art of medicine, bioethics in particular deserves to be questioned philosophically by physicians living in real life. Ophthalmologists can develop more beneficial and realistic ophthalmology education, research, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation practices by utilizing the basic methods of philosophy.

Keywords: Philosophy; moral philosophy; ophthalmology; philosophy of science; wisdom.

MeSH terms

  • Bioethics*
  • Humans
  • Knowledge
  • Ophthalmology*
  • Philosophy